Companies like Uber and Airbnb have grown exponentially by serving as high-tech middlemen to create efficient marketplaces that connect consumers with goods and services at greater speed and with greater value. Almost everyone has a smartphone. And Uber perfected a whole new way to use smartphones to instantly match the people who want rides with the people who want to drive them.

This new generation of automated platforms creates value by out-competing traditional incumbents—or outright disrupting an entire industry. As TechCrunch Contributor Sameer Patel writes in his recent article “In Defense of the Uberization of Everything,” a simple app successfully transformed an industry by cutting costs, complexity and bureaucracy to create more value for the end user.

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