On-demand winners like Airbnb, Uber, and Didi Chuxing are breaking away from the pack.
Ouch. The on-demand category has taken a beating recently, as you can see in our Charts tool, with Q1’17 sinking to deal and dollar funding levels previously seen in the same quarter three years previously. Clearly, the category has fallen out of fashion with winners like Airbnb, Uber, and Didi Chuxing breaking away from the pack, while startup deaths show the difficulty in building tech businesses around the instant delivery of physical goods and services. But our Mosaic algorithm, which tracks the health of private companies, can spot niches where there is momentum, even within embattled categories.
As a reminder, the Mosaic scores highlight companies that are breaking out based on signals such as funding history, hiring, press mentions, social media volume, web traffic, notable customers/partnerships, investor quality, etc. Companies are scored on a scale from 1 to 1000. The average at any given time is close to 500.
- The on-demand storage space is one area we have been watching and where companies are still showing strength. MakeSpace Labs, the putative private leader in this segment, is backed by Collaborative Fund, Lowercase Capital, Primary Venture Partners, Slow Ventures and Upfront Ventures, among other investors. It raised a $30M Series C late last week. Other players are Colorado-based Closetbox (which raised $5.5M in Series B funding last month) and Omni Projects. All have Mosaic scores of 700 or above.
- Parking and car-related services have also seen activity, with on-demand car mechanics, gas-pumping, and parking spots all seeing recent funding deals and/or high Momentum. Parking app SpotHero raised a new $12M in funding last week. ParkWhiz has gained in Mosaic momentum this year (per web traffic, media mentions, job listings) as has Openbay (auto repair professionals). Yoshi, an app that offers on-demand filling of your car’s gas tank, raised a $2M seed VC round in January.
- Finally, at-home beauty services, including hair styling, makeovers, and makeup continue to see investor interest and some traction. A few players to watch in this niche include GlamSquad, with a Mosaic score of 800; India-basedMyGlamm, which raised $5M+ from cosmetics conglomerate L’Occitane last month (L’Occitane also backed the company’s Series A); and Blow, which received its second investment from Unilever Ventures just 4 days ago.