Chicken-less egg???

Any nascent platform can only attract users by attracting other users. In the case of two-sided platforms, this means that to attract users in group A, the platform must attract users in group B, but to attract users in group B, it must attract users in group A. This conundrum is known as the “chicken-and-egg problem”: Because chickens hatch from eggs and eggs are laid by chickens, one wonders which came first. As far as platforms are concerned, the conundrum is more about which, of the chicken or the egg, should come first. That is, knowing that you have to start somewhere, which users should you target in priority to start your business?

In Chapter 4 of our book, we propose a rigorous method for answering this tricky question; we call it the “Lever Selector” because the objective is to select the group of users that proves the most efficient lever to attract the other group(s) of users. Based on this method, we describe three generic strategies that platforms can deploy at the launch stage, depending on the circumstances they are faced with. Moreover, we propose, for each strategy, a set of specific tactics.

One of the tactics that we described is called “Offer chicken an eggless diet”. It consists in attracting a group of users with the help of stand-alone benefits. In September 2022, a piece of news caught our attention. At first glance, we thought that we could use this article as a nice illustration of this tactic. Yet, a closer look revealed something quite different …

The article, published on the eu-startups website is entitled: "Finnish startup Onego Bio picks up €4.5 million to accelerate the development of chicken-less egg product." Under the subtitle ‘Egg without the chicken', the author explains the following:

"the Finnish startup has developed a protein alternative that could have massive benefits for the global food supply system. (…) Onego Bio uses a commercially proven Trichoderma technology to solve the environmental problems associated with eggs. This safe, sustainable and cost-effective precision fermentation method produces ovalbumin, the most abundant egg white protein, and the team believes this chosen technology is superior because of its efficiency and productivity. It also provides significant benefits to the environment, food security, as well as animal welfare."

No platform or network effects here unfortunately. Yet, a promising startup that tries to raise funding to accelerate its development… and a  strange concept to remember: ‘chicken-less egg’!