I have recently launched a new platform - www.ekipa.co. We now call it 'the global marketplace for software teams'. One feedback we're getting from experts and from some of our providers is that high value transactions with a low frequency are not suitable for a pure online marketplace. If I look at for example Angel.co, I would argue that they do facilitate high value transactions. So my brain tells me the issue is in the naming 'marketplace' > Angel.co calls itself a community. The core thing our platform does is match custom software buyers with the best software teams from all over the world. Teams are employed by companies (providers). Ekipa matches your project with a team that knows how to build the solution you need, in the technology you want and for companies similar to yours. After the matching, we support the collaboration with escrow payment and a local point of contact. For providers, we give them strong profiles and access to clients + we vet them, which gives them credibility. On this side of the chicken and egg problem, we've got quite some traction now. How would you approach this problem of labelling? Or do you believe there's a more fundamental problem?
I think we'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are not promoting here through a question it appears to me that there is a different issue at hand.
Could be branding, positioning, market focus, pricing or wording... Could be a number of things more suitable for a call I think.
Angel.co is a community, it doesn't call itself that. You can label whatever you wish but it has to embody how your customer base feels, often times this issuing does not come until you have a large user base and they themselves will give you the answer.
Branding is often a waste of time for most startups because the fundamental value of a brand come through user satisfaction & engagement. Here is where growth hacking comes in for most startups.
A marketplace is a common name for digital services however unless and until you have an established branded service that people know you for a marketplace label is more confusing than anything.
Again, it appears that you have a positioning, marketing, possibly pricing and maybe even management since all these relate to growth and sales.
Give me or anyone else here relevant to your issues a call :)
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Neither "marketplace" nor "community" get the point across.
You're a "matchmaker", a dating agency that pairs projects with compatible teams of software engineers.
Perhaps: "Epika ... where Projects date Software Teams".
... or so I'd spin it, anyway.
I'm not sure that it is a serious issue but I do think that Marketplace sounds a bit more transactional whereas what you are offering is a little more in depth, involved, and long term. I'm guessing you probably want to steer away of anything that would make them associate your network with something like Elance or Odesk. For those reasons I would probably lean toward either "Community" or "Network". So possibly a "Network of Providers" or a "Community of Providers". Additionally I think the focus of the branding would/should focus primarily toward the client rather than the provider.