Internet commerce technology has unleashed the capabilities of ordinary Americans to take matters into their own hands and craft—often literally—their own livelihoods. You can create and sell custom jewelry, find a room (or rent yours out) on Airbnb, drive your fellow citizens around with Uber, or find families that need some nanny help. Got a cool product idea? Backing could be just a few clicks away at a crowdfunding site. This is all thanks to websites designed to bring sellers and buyers together in new ways.
Enter the Bottom-Up Economic Revolution. It’s a massive shift in the way we think about commerce, one that is made possible thanks to platform businesses— the online marketplaces, small business cloud-based companies and crowdfunding sites out there. They connect buyers and sellers in creative new verticals, helping merchants and non-profits interact with customers or donors.
Thanks to the Bottom-Up Economic Revolution, there are more proprietors (those who receive all or part of their income through self-employment activities) than ever before—and their numbers are growing fast.
- As a percentage of total US employment, proprietors have steadily increased every year since 2000.
- The US labor force gained over 10 million more working proprietors between 2000 and 2012—with over 21% of working Americans receiving at least part of their income through self-employment. During the same time, the US labor force lost over a million private wage and salary workers.
- Between 2002 and 2012, enterprises with over 1000 employees lost over a 1 million employees. Enterprises with less than 25 people gained over a 1.5 million employees—nearly half of them going to enterprises that had 5 or fewer total employees.
As the Bottom-Up Economic Revolution grows, we see two categories of platform companies driving it: marketplaces and cloud-based small business software. These small business platforms must provide not just an excellent overall user experience, but also an easy-to-implement payment experience that protects the consumer, the seller, and the platform business itself from risk and fraud.
WePay perfectly complements this new wave of e-commerce. Unlike other general-purpose payment APIs, WePay is designed for platforms. The key to WePay’s ability to support platforms is our patent-pending risk engine technology, Veda, that lets us underwrite merchants of any size and shape. Platforms can blend a payments process into their product seamlessly, while feeling confident that a robust system of fraud protection is standing behind them.
Entrepreneurial success requires three key ingredients: new ideas for solving old ways of doing things, sufficient drive, and a competent team of players. For enterprises with these characteristics, The Bottom-Up Economic Revolution represents a massive opportunity. By supporting the backend transactions that keep the Revolution booming, we couldn’t be more excited to see where the creative players in this vital new economy head next.
Bill Clerico is CEO and co-founder of WePay, where he drives the company’s vision, strategy and growth. His goal is to make payments easy for the world’s small businesses and the platforms that serve them. Before founding WePay, Clerico worked in technology investment banking at Jefferies & Company, where he advised enterprise software, digital media and financial technology companies on M&A and capital market transactions. In 2010, he was named one of Business Insider’s Silicon Valley 100 and in 2011, as one of BusinessWeek’s 30 under 30 Best Tech Entrepreneurs.