As the "Uber for X" trend explodes, a growing set of behind-the-scenes companies is providing the tools and services that make the on-demand economy possible.
On-demand economy startups have raised over $9.4B since 2010 to provide mobile-powered services across many categories, including food-delivery, shipping, and transportation.
But while consumer-facing startups like Uber and Shyp capture investor and media attention, another less glamorous subset of companies will provide the infrastructure and services to enable their services. In 2011, Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz wrote about the “shovels” opportunity that follows most major technology trends:
“For most technology trends, the number of successful companies created in gold mining and pickaxes are comparable, yet the gold mining businesses tend to get much more attention.”
Within the gold-rush world of on-demand, startups providing “pickaxes” are focusing on a few key categories:
- Route / vehicle optimization & logistics: Companies helping on-demand startups and/or other firms to manage and analyze delivery operations, routes, and assets. This category includes firms like OnFleet, which manages delivery operations for on-demand startups such as Meadow and Boxbee; as well as Dispatch, which offers products and back-end feature sets to bring businesses into the on-demand economy.
- Background checks / security / reputation: Startups in this category, like Checkr, are leveraging APIs to automate background checks, enabling a quicker screening process for on-demand workers.
- Short-term rental management and scheduling: A host of companies are helping price and manage short-term rental properties including Pillow and Guesty.
- Admin / payments / HR & benefits: Startups providing services to help on-demand platforms and workers manage payments, work schedules and taxes.
- Insurance: Startups are working with on-demand marketplaces and workers to broker health insurance, provide customized coverage around areas including short-term rental housing, and partner on per-mile insurance plans for drivers.
- App promotion / deep links/indexing: Companies providing connections between apps to drive installs and app-to-app integration. Button, for example, powered a recent partnership allowing users to order an Uber directly from Foursquare‘s app.
1st update (3/1/16): We originally published this infographic on 7/14/2015 and updated it 3/1/16, adding nearly 20 new companies and removing some that have since folded or been acquired including Zen99 and PlaybookHR.
The graphic below highlights some, but far from all, of the various companies working within on-demand infrastructure and services.
Below is a full list of the companies on the graphic broken down by target area. If there are other emerging companies that you think should be highlighted, leave them in the comments as well.
|OnFleet||Route / vehicle optimization / mileage & logistics|
|SherpaShare||Route / vehicle optimization / mileage & logistics|
|ZenDrive||Route / vehicle optimization / mileage & logistics|
|MileIQ||Route / vehicle optimization / mileage & logistics|
|InDemand||Route / vehicle optimization / mileage & logistics|
|Narvar||Route / vehicle optimization / mileage & logistics|
|Routific||Route / vehicle optimization / mileage & logistics|
|Dispatch||Route / vehicle optimization / mileage & logistics|
|BeeLine||Route / vehicle optimization / mileage & logistics|
|Checkr||Background checks / security / reputation|
|Onfido||Background checks / security / reputation|
|BeenVerified||Background checks / security / reputation|
|Karma||Background checks / security / reputation|
|Ravelin||Background checks / security / reputation|
|GoodHire||Background checks / security / reputation|
|Trooly||Background checks / security / reputation|
|Traity||Background checks / security / reputation|
|Button||Deep links / app promotion|
|Branch Metrics||Deep links / app promotion|
|URX||Deep links / app promotion|
|Quixey||Deep links / app promotion|
|Relcy||Deep links / app promotion|
|Deeplink.me||Deep links / app promotion|
|Pillow||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|Cityami||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|Beyond Homes||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|Guesty||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|MaidThis||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|Rented||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|Keycafe||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|Guesthop||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|Everbooked||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|Proprly||Short-term rental management and scheduling|
|Hurdlr||Admin / payments / HR & benefits|
|OnboardIQ||Admin / payments / HR & benefits|
|Staffjoy||Admin / payments / HR & benefits|
|Payable||Admin / payments / HR & benefits|
|Honest Dollar||Admin / payments / HR & benefits|
|Peers||Admin / payments / HR & benefits|
|Qwil||Admin / payments / HR & benefits|
|Benny||Admin / payments / HR & benefits|
|Workgenius||Admin / payments / HR & benefits|
|Breeze||Worker / equipment discovery|
|HyreCar||Worker / equipment discovery|
|Dispatcher.io||Worker / equipment discovery|
|Sally||Worker / equipment discovery|
|IdleCars||Worker / equipment discovery|
|BlueCrew||Worker / equipment discovery|
The original graphic is posted below:
Photo Credit: grace_kat
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