The On-Demand Economy Is Here To Stay, And Now Is The Time To Put It To Use For Your Business
It’s hard to believe that only two years ago most people had never heard of Uber. Now, if there is someone out there who still doesn’t know what Uber or the on-demand economy is, they must be living in some very remote area of the universe. Startups like Uber achieved massive success not by inventing new products or categories, but by disrupting the way industries operate, and making our lives more convenient in the process. Companies like Uber succeed by putting information at our fingertips and giving us what we want: instant gratification. The on-demand economy is all about “now” and “transparency.” I need my taxi now; I don’t want to pick up the phone to call or raise my hand to flag down a vehicle. Don’t tell me when my cab will arrive; show me on a map how far away it is.
I first heard of Uber about four years ago, only a year after the company launched. At the time Uber was not operating in Miami due to a heavy regulated taxi industry, but I would always use it on my frequent trips to New York. I had the privilege of sitting on a panel with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in August 2012, at an off-site event at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Looking back, I wish I’d taken more advantage of my one-on-one time with Travis, as there is no doubt his knowledge of the startup world is unprecedented. But after that panel, I became obsessed with Uber and the on-demand economy, and I started thinking about how I might use this new way of doing business to continue to disrupt my industry.
Group photo after our Startup America Panel on Government & Startups. CEO of Uber in the middle. Me all the way to the right.
By August 2013, my situation had changed drastically. Instead of continuing to disrupt my industry and adding verticals to my business, I was dealing with fire after fire. As an entrepreneur, there is nothing more frustrating than having amazing ideas without the bandwidth or funding to implement them. Instead of adding product lines based on on-demand concepts into our meal delivery company, I was trying to save my company from our toxic angel investor. The only way to keep my company running was to bring in new management, a demand made by our investor. So I moved from CEO to Chairman of The Fresh Diet, a shift that allowed me a bit more time to explore the fascinating on-demand economy. What I found was surprising. There were many entrepreneurs trying to disrupt their industry using the on-demand economy.
Today countless startups refer to themselves as the Uber of X. Companies likeBuddytruk, an Uber for Pickup Trucks, are trying to disrupt the short-haul moving industry; start-ups like Zeel, an Uber for Massages, brings a Massage Therapist to your door. Swifto, the Uber for Dog-Walking, brings you not only a dog walker, but also the ability to track your pet as its travels through your neighborhood. StyleBee, the Uber for beauty services, brings make-up artists and salon specialists into your home.
Uber has tapped into a few key human desires, and that is why it has become one of the most successful companies in the world. The growth of the on-demand sector demonstrates that customers are interested in on-demand services. And thanks to companies like Dispatch, it is easier than ever to bring your business into the on-demand economy or launch your new Uber of X startup.
Dispatch is software-as-a-service company that allows entrepreneurs to move into the on-demand world quickly and inexpensively. Gone are the days when launching a technology company like Uber would take hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours building a tech platform. With Dispatch, you can launch your on-demand business in weeks and for less than $10,000. Dispatch is disrupting the Uber of X economy by having no up-front costs and charging a per transaction fee on the back-end. This business model has already proven successful: Dispatch raised over three million in funding last year and has just recently closed another three million dollar round from its current investors. It has also shown early success for companies using its service.Aatlantic Fitness, a fitness equipment repair service company, moved into the on-demand economy using Dispatch, and Handyman Connection, a 20 year old home repair service company, is using Dispatch’s platform to compete with Handy an on-demand service for house cleaning that has raised $60 million in venture capital.
These technologies reduce startup time by months or years and can turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality. As technologies continue to disrupt industry after industry, we the entrepreneurs are the greatest beneficiaries. So get out there and take advantage of this ever-changing world.
If you have the next big idea for an on-demand startup, or if want to bring your industry up to speed, reach out to Yaakov James Zar of Dispatch. He would love to help you make your dreams come true.
I am currently an investor in Buddytruk