How New York Envy Drives On-Demand Startups in Silicon Valley

By Mike Elgan  |  Posted 2016-03-22 Print this article Print
On-Demand Startups

In fact, Uber actively tries to make Uber usage cheaper than car ownership, and has succeeded in some cities for some customers.

Some of the on-demand ride-sharing services seek to replace taxicabs. Others seek to organize existing professional taxis. Either way, these on-demand ride services are seeking to give other cities what Manhattan has always had—the luxury of not owning a car because rides are so cheap and easy.

Fast food delivery

Most Americans can get food delivered to their homes—if you want pizza and perhaps Chinese food or Mexican food. But in Manhattan, your average resident is within range of dozens of great restaurants, grocery stores and even liquor stores that will be happy to bring food and drinks to your apartment. It's been like that for decades.

The on-demand economy has already produced a dizzying array of Manhattan-like options for getting anything consumable delivered right to your door. App-centric services like Drizly, Sprig, Instacart, Quinciple, Good Eggs, Blue Apron, Sun Basket, Club W, Seamless, Tasting Room, Plated, Munchery, Fresh Direct, Door Dash, Thirstie, Amazon Fresh and Google Express let you get food from restaurants and stores as well as groceries for making your own food and more.

Outsourced pet care

Wherever you go in Manhattan, you'll see people walking several dogs. Residents have always been able to count on a community of professional dog walkers, who go from client to client collecting dogs with their leashes, then taking the entire pack to a nearby park.

If you live outside of New York—say, in your average suburb, dog walkers are harder to come by. Fortunately, on-demand startups are springing up to help.

By firing up one of the many new dog-walking apps, including Wag, Swifto, Rover or Zingy, you can outsource not only dog walking, but in some cases feeding, temporary boarding and more. You can even get real-time tracking and notifications while your dog is being walked!

Another nice perk for some Manhattan residents is a doorman to manage the entrance to your building. A doorman's main job is to watch and manage who enters the building. They get to know all the residents and can make sure that anyone who doesn't live in the building is really an invited guest.

Of course, you can get a Ring Video Doorbell to manage your own door via the included app (a product I use and highly recommend).

Another major benefit of a doorman is that they can sign for your packages while you're not there, so you can pick them up when you do get home. This is really nice in an economy where we buy so many of our products over the Internet and expect them to be delivered, but where we're often not home when the delivery gets there. Even if a package is left on the front step, it can be easily stolen. Doorstep package theft is a major problem.

Fortunately, the on-demand revolution has produced a service that will receive your package and deliver it to you when you're sure to be home. You can schedule the delivery for any time between 6 pm and midnight. The service is called—what else?—Doorman. They'll even handle package returns.

It's astonishing to consider that so much of what San Francisco and Silicon Valley are doing with the new generation of on-demand apps is really just trying to bring New York City's instant gratification conveniences to the rest of the world.


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