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What is N2? A market place? A Networking platform? No,​ it’s a Market network…. But what is that?

Derek Watson
Derek Watson

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What is N2? A market place? A Networking platform? No,​ it’s a Market


Whilst trying to meditate a few mornings ago, as the sun was coming up, my mind, as normal, started wandering. I have been spending a lot of time with potential investors, having a lot of questions posed and seeing the processes that they are going through in the normal human way to come to a decision. Comparing their actions to how we set out our stall at N2 to replicate with technology what can be automated, it brought a smile to my face as I realised just how strong and more efficient our platform already is. These moments begged the question though, what is N2? outside of the very specific explanation about what it does, what is it?

I started with the two main parts of N2, a marketplace and a networking platform, What is the difference between a market place, and why is relationship networking not required on the current offerings? and why have the social and business networking sites not leveraged on their models and brought real business opportunities. It seems like the two live in totally separate parallels but they don’t in the real world, our human actions are a function of crossing both, find a business opportunity and reach out to our network to try and make it happen.

I spent a little time researching this, it is not the most widely documented subject but the move and understanding is out there, and it is very apparent to anyone who cares to understand that our continual push to use technology has to follow our normal cognitive behavioral patterns. The closer we replicate our normal actions into our software solutions, with all the added advantages of efficiency and reach, the greater the uptake and usage will be. This is not even taking into consideration the layers of machine learning that can be utilised to enhance efficiency, reach, speed, insights, etc to make an even more compelling offering.

Market networks will dictate the new business models of all future platforms. A hybrid model of a marketplace and a direct network, they bring together all the best features of each and offer workflow and collaboration tools that in turn offer the user a combinatorial solution.

A marketplace, such as Amazon or Ebay, is just about the transaction, aggregating sellers to create a competitive supply environment, brings buyers to make their one off purchases. A small ticket environment where relationships are not needed.
A direct network, such as Linkedin or Facebook, is all about interactions, creating relationships and putting out the best version of oneself in order to attract new relationships. No opportunities or tools exist and further business building is taken off line.
The current behemoths that we use serve us very separately, online presence on one side and on the other side, commerce.
The one to one marketplace is the last link in the chain, any other links, more complex business solutions, require far greater expertise and collaboration, having an available and trusted network within the same environment brings enormous efficiency and acceleration.
Currently, finding partners to fulfil bigger ticket complex business solutions is a separate task, one that is often taken off line. New tools need to be implemented in order to manage and nurture these new business opportunities.
A market network is a platform that provides the full solution;
  • A marketplace where product supply and demand is matched to the customer
  • A direct network where users can build collaborative relationships to drive opportunities
  • A SaaS tool kit that gives users an online combinatorial environment to run projects and build relationships, where a team can be formed to provide an end-to-end service

A market network provides critical task SaaS tools that answer the professional needs of the user base, offering solutions that solve mundane daily processes and offering a centralised environment for workflow and process driven tasks. The SaaS tool allows the user to connect with their professional network, whether they be clients, service providers or both and expand their reach around opportunities and transactions.

Creating an ecosystem where transactions and connections exist in a market network brings vast improvements for professionals to operate their business and service their clients.

From a monetization standpoint, market networks bring a unique and attractive business model, combining the strong network effects and scalability together with the enormity of a marketplace business, wrapped in a lucrative SaaS revenue model.
The most important characteristics of a successful market network.
Built for bigger ticket more complex business solutions

The on-demand market has been saturated with applications that solve simple quick transactions. The Ubers, Deliveroos, Airbnbs’ and Upworks of this world have solved both sides of simple services by making it vastly more efficient. There are no requirements for anymore complicated technology, no need for relationships, it is a closed circuit one to one environment.

A market network solution is aimed at more complex businesses, where distribution and collaboration are central to success. From building a house, making an investment or running an event, many parties and much expertise is needed and involved to bring the end product to fruition.

Where people make things happen
Building an ecosystem where users can have their professional relationships under one roof, reach out and grow their professional network, allows for a level of communication and opinion that hugely benefits all users. Accelerating processes and raising efficiency levels is a key characteristic of a SaaS market network.

Business building through long term relationships

Collaborating and building relationships is paramount to business success, being able to manage this efficiently defines the level of success that will be achieved. Running collaborative workflow and process using the Market networks SaaS tools provided allows the professionals to apply their skills to the actual task in hand rather than to administrative time consuming tasks.

Business referrals flow easily through a market network

Building relationships is based on reputation, building that reputation is much easier when services are provided in a common space that allow referrals to freely flow.

Enormous efficiency and acceleration

Building a large horizontal platform that houses closely interlaced verticals into software will no doubt enable professional users to close more opportunities, reduce miscommunication, raise customer satisfaction and moreover work in a pleasing and satisfying environment.

Use case. A friends investment journey and the N2 solution

Step 1.

I recently reached out to a friend who I thought might be interested in making an investment into N2. I gave him the elevator pitch, sent him the video and pitchbook and waited to hear back.
N2 solution
This is automated by me having uploaded my opportunity onto the platform and sending it to my connections that show a strong algorithmically driven match (or not). Video, pitchbook and other specific documents all uploaded.

Step 2.
We had a follow up call where he asked me a bunch of standard questions, competition analysis, technology stack and some administration questions about jurisdiction and shareholder rights.
N2 solution
Our data room allows users to upload all there marketing material and also confidential documents, these sit behind an NDA that needs to be executed. For other standard questions, each opportunity has a Q&A board which acts as an FAQ and where more questions can be directed posted.

Step 3.
I didn’t receive any feedback for several weeks, but a friend in my network and also his network happened to call him and speak about the N2 investment opportunity. I then received a follow up call with a request for more documentation and deeper questions.
N2 solution
This is the referral system that we have built, this allows people to share and speak about opportunities outside of the opportunity provider. If a user is interested he can engage with the provider and chat with him directly, sign an NDA and study confidential documents.

Step 4.
We then had another call where he invited a trusted friend and business associate to listen in and pose questions. His next step was to reach out to his secondary network to find a trusted market expert to gauge his opinion.
N2 solution
Users can create rooms, private or public, and engage in diligence sessions to get industry opinions on any subject.

Step 5.
After careful consideration and his wife’s permission he decided to move forward, he asked for the necessary documentation, shareholders agreement, articles of association our trade license. He asked me to also include his lawyer and accountant so that they could check the documentation for his legal and fiscal situation in consideration of the investment.
N2 solution
We have built a transaction pipeline where third parties can be invited to collaborate and view, download, upload and execute documentation. Timelines can be set and reminders of tasks to keep the process on track.


After considering this use case on that very early morning and with the sun now fully up, I did smile, and acknowledge that market networks are most certainly the future.


Until next time with peace and love,

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