SXSW Interactive 2015

Unlocking the Promise of Local


For the last decade, local has been considered the next frontier for startups. But for all the promise, the landscape is littered with startups that have tried to crack local and spectacularly failed (Kozmo, Webvan, etc). Hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital has evaporated in this space.

But finally, after years of struggle, startups across local are starting to get significant traction. And the remarkable success of Uber shows how incredible the opportunity is.

Hear from startups that are breaking out across local: in apartments (CEO, ApartmentList), local services (President, Thumbtack), food (CEO, Sprig), and shipping (Investor, Shyp).

Panelists will discuss:
-Why is local so hard?
-Why are companies starting to break out now?
-What are the keys to unlocking local?
-Will all of local be "Uberized"?
-How are the tech giants -- Google, Amazon, eBay, Apple -- going to play in local?

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. There are trillions of dollars spent in the local economy, but until the dramatic rise of Uber, there were few sizable companies in this space. Sure, Yelp and Angie's List have been a around for a while, but they are relatively small compared to the Amazon's and eBay's of the world. It's clear local is a huge opportunity, but why have so few companies unlocked local? Why has hundreds of millions of venture capital evaporated in this space. Why is local so hard?
  2. After a decade of false promise, companies across the local landscape are starting to break out. Why? What has changed? Is this time real?
  3. What does it take to break out in local? What strategies and tactics work? Don't work?
  4. With the tremendous success of Uber, there is lots of talk about "Uber-izing" the rest of local. Will all of local be "Uberized" or on-demand? If not, where will it work and where will it not?
  5. The giants of tech - Amazon, eBay, Google, Apple - all have their sights on local. Google has committed $500M to Google Shopping Express, and Amazon is rumored to be launching local service marketplaces. Where will the tech giants move next in local? Where will they succeed? Fail?



Jonathan Swanson, Co-Founder / President, Thumbtack

Meta Information:

  • Tags: venture capital
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Entrepreneurialism and Business
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced

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