10 Startup business models you must know (with examples)

Navdeep Yadav
5 min readSep 17, 2022


If you wanted to startup than I am sure your startup will have one out of these 10 business models.

So let’s dive in.

1. Freemium business model —

Here you allow users to utilize basic features of a software, game or service for “free”, and then charge for “upgrades” to the basic package.

Examples: Google Drive, iCloud and Slack.

Graphic Credit: Business Model toolbox

Freemium is very common in web-based services (SaaS) and digital apps. Here the Free version of the product is a growth driver while the premium brings revenue in the long run.

You can read more about the Freemium business model (Click here)

2. Subscription business model —

It is based on the idea of selling a product or service to receive monthly or yearly recurring subscription revenue.

Examples: Amazon Prime, Netflix and Slack.

Graphic Credit: Business Model toolbox

There are different types of Subscription business models like

  1. Amazon Umbrella subscription
  2. Subscription Pass
  3. Subscription box
  4. Ecosystem Subscription

This is considered the next step to the Freemium business model if the customer is interested in paying monthly for a premium feature in the product.

You can read more about Subscription Business Model(Click here)

3. Pay-as-you-go business model —

This is a pricing strategy where users pay based on how much they consume.

Pay-as-you-go, business model

It is used by cloud computing companies like Google Cloud, AWS etc. In short, the more you use the more you pay.

4. Marketplace business model —

A marketplace is a type of e-commerce site where product or service information is provided by third-party sellers and the company take a cut from the transaction(15%-25%).

Examples — Amazon, Fiverr, Urban Company

Marketplace business model

There are different types of Marketplaces like

  1. Light Marketplaces — Craigslist
  2. Managed Marketplaces — Airbnb
  3. Heavily Managed Marketplaces — Amazon

You can read more about the Marketplace business model (Click here)

Would you like to get a detailed copy of these business models?

Buy my latest e-book on 31 Startup business models(300+ pages)🚀

Click here to Buy

5. Fee-for-service (FFS) business model

FFS’s business model is based on charging customers a fixed and variable fee for every successful payment.

Fee-for-service (FFS) business model

It is used by companies like Stripe and Razor pay where they deduct 1%-2% as the collection fees on the transaction amount.

Example: Stripe charges 2.9% + 30¢ per successfully executed payment transaction.

Read more about the Fintech business model

6. Transactional business model

The revenue is generated by directly selling an item or a service to a customer.

Widely used by e-commerce sites or any other product you purchase online. Ex Boat, Mama earth

7. Ad-based business model

Used by social media and search engine giants which use your search engine and interest data to show ads.

Example: Google and Meta

Facebook business model

It keeps users out of the equation so they don’t pay for the service or product offered, e.g. Google users don’t pay for searches.

8. Hidden revenue business model

Job portals can make money by charging an upgrade both from the candidate and recruiter who is on the website.

9. Franchisee business model

Here the franchisee(local owner) is using the trademark, branding, and business model of a franchisor(company).

Examples are Dominos, KFC etc.

franchise business model

10. Razor blade business model

In this type of business model, one item is sold at a low price in order to increase sales of a complementary good, such as consumable supplies.

Examples: Gillet razor & blades, CCD Coffee machine & coffee beans and HP Printer & Cartage etc.

Graphic Credit: Business Model toolbox

Benefits of the Razor-Razorblade Approach

  1. Recurring profit for the brand.
  2. Higher margins refills
  3. Good upselling and cross-selling opportunities
  4. Stable earnings model

Just clap👏 and follow 👏 if you liked the content.

Would you like to get a detailed copy of these business models?

You can buy my Lates e-book on 31 Startup business models(300+ pages)

Click here to Buy

If you have any doubts about the Business model e-book just message me on Linkedin Navdeep Yadav