VCs: Will LODE Displace Local Search?

Local On-Demand Economy (LODE) apps were the largest recipient of VC funding in 2014. And it makes sense given the favorable unit economics that LODE services can accomplish, along with several other metrics that VCs tend to like.

This was galvanized during our December Interactive Local Media conference, during which we interviewed two leading VCs with LODE companies in their portfolio. Michael Yang of Comcast ventures fleshed out the opportunity behind Shuddle and FlightCar, while Mucker Capital Managing Partner William Hsu did similar for BloomNation (see video below).

These are just a few of the many companies bringing LODE principles to new verticals. It’s the uberfication of local. But most of all, the investment theses of Yang and Hsu kept coming back to the fact that the age of local search is behind us. End-to-end transaction tools are compressing the supply chain and the steps of the traditional local search process.

“There’s no advertising in these apps, it’s purely a grossed-up transactional value,” Yang said on stage. “Local isn’t reviews anymore, it’s on demand… The business model is consumer pay, and the merchant is being aggregated into a network.”

In fact, we liked their analysis so much that we’ll have Yang and Hsu back at BIA/Kelsey NOW for a VC panel. To prime that discussion, we created a highlight reel of their comments from the December show. You can see it below as a sneak peek of the types of discussions we’ll have on stage in San Francisco in June.

We hope to see you there. Meanwhile, see our ongoing LODE coverage, and recently released white paper.

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