Need a lift home from a not-so-hot date? There’s a bunch of apps for that (yup, we’re talking Uber, Lyft and the ‘no-boys-allowed’ DriveHer rideshare services). Looking for someone to assemble your Ikea furniture, lug that heavy couch up a flight of stairs, or score you an awesome parking spot? Help is just a click away, thanks to the plethora of on-demand start-ups currently disrupting traditional industries and business models worldwide.
Basically, if you can think of a service that you’d like to order using an app, chances are good it’s available right now – especially if you live in one of the big start-up obsessed markets like San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Vancouver.
And in true capitalist fashion, when one segment of the economy flourishes, the killjoys are quick to chime in. They’re claiming that the seemingly insatiable consumer appetite for everything and anything, now, is little more than a fad – a tech-driven trend that’s destined to live hard and die young during the impending “on-demand apocalypse“.
Quite frankly, that’s a load of fear-mongering crap.
Sure, last year was an arguably rocky one for on-demand start-ups, with notable names like Homejoy and SpoonRocket shuttering their operations altogether, while Instacart slashed courier wages by more than 50 percent.
At the same time, the on-demand economy as a whole continued to grow at a steady rate that’s the envy of Wall Street. In 2010, U.S.-based on-demand start-ups raised $57 million in funding, and by 2014, “that number jumped to over $4 billion.” Not exactly the kind of stats the bean-counters would normally equate with a segment of the economy that’s “about to implode” are they?
On-Demand Goes Way, Way Beyond Uber
Of course, the critics are quick to point out that Uber, the mother of all on-demand companies and a major disruptor of traditional taxi services worldwide, has actually raised the lion’s share of the overall financing.
Yes, Uber has raised a boatload of cash. Ok, a lot of boatloads – around $7.5 billion since 2010 and counting, making the current valuation of this six year old start-up about $68 billion, or about $20 billion more than America’s largest automaker, General Motors.
But at the same time, all those ‘other’ on-demand start-ups managed to raise some serious dough as well. Between 2010 and 2014, U.S.-based non-Uber start-ups pulled in an impressive $4 billion in venture capital, proving that investors are willing to put their hard-earned cash on the line to back these kinds of companies.
On-Demand Doesn’t Mean Fly-By-Night
We believe the on-demand economy is here to stay, and like any industry that experiences explosive growth, there’s bound to be a few growing pains along the way.
After all, when Alfa Romeo, Suzuki and Saab all bit the dust, did anyone take to the streets proclaiming that the entire automotive industry was about to collapse?
The truth is, we suspect all those cynics, complainers and prophets of doom who are claiming that the on-demand industry is destined to crash and burn are secretly jealous of the success of on-demand companies, like ParcelPal.
And if they are feeling a little insecure and jealous, help is only a few clicks away. Yup, you guessed it – there’s an on-demand app for that too…