One clear signal that an industry is expanding is when participants start to specifically target niche, specialized or vertical market segments.
This has been happening in the gig economy for a while now, but we saw two interesting examples last week.
One comes from the online talent marketplace space. This industry started with generalist sites like Elance that connect a wide range of workers with people looking to hire help. But very quickly specialized marketplaces emerged to connect buyers and sellers of very specific types of talent.
A good example is MBA & Company, which was named Spend Matters WIP (work intermediation platform) of the week.
Not surprisingly given its name, MBA & Company provides an online marketplace platform that connects independent business consultants with companies looking for consulting help. Hourly Nerd is another example of a specialized marketplace that provides access to consultants.
The Forbes article How The Gig Economy Is Impacting The Life Sciences Industry provides another example.
It covers The Stem, a consulting firm which describes themselves as:
... specialists in Healthcare customer engagement. We deliver expertise in strategy and innovation, insights and analytics, business process and organization, and execution support.
They do this by using a networked consulting model that draws on their stable of over 100 independent consultants who specialize in the health and life sciences industry.
Both of these firms are gig economy firms in the sense they use gig workers to provide services. But each has their own niche and business model.
MBA & Company provides general, high end business consulting services via an online talent marketplace.
The Stem provides highly specialized, high end business consulting services to health and life sciences companies, but does so through direct contact instead of an online marketplace.
Both firms are good examples of how the gig economy continues to grow and and spread into new fields.
Entrepreneur's Vertical Is on the Horizon of the On-Demand Economy covers this topic with a focus on goods and services.