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"On-Demand Everything": 5 Key Questions For On-Demand Entrepreneurs

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I took the excuse of a keynote I was asked to give at Slush's "On-Demand Everything" conference to put a few slides together, which summarize my thoughts on the category, which I've defined as mobile-first marketplaces connecting consumers to professionals offering a service (ie. not a product), in less than an hour.

These companies represent the 4th generation of online marketplaces, which evolved over time from simple, generalist, passive classifieds (Craigslist), where all the work of matching supply and demand was left to the buyers and sellers themselves, to ever more specialised and intelligent platforms, able to offer almost perfect and instantaneous matching, requiring virtually no work from both sides of the transaction (Uber's "click of a button" experience).

While it's safe to assume that every service will move towards such a seamless mobile experience, the pace at which the change is occuring, and whether it will be led by a new startup vs. an incumbent, depends on a few characteristics, which vary from sector to sector. The following questions that will determine the pace of adoption and the eventual success of on-demand startups:

1. How urgent is the need?

2. How frequent is the need?

3. How complex is the task?

4. Is mobile a game-changer?

5. Can it ever be profitable?

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"On-Demand Everything": 5 Key Questions For On-Demand Entrepreneurs

  1. 1. “On-Demand” Everything Slush Small Talks 19 October 2015
  2. 2. Slush Small Talks – 19 October 2015 What’s “On-Demand”? Mobile-first marketplaces connecting consumers to professionals offering a service (ie. not a product) in less than an hour. ie. while often mentioned, Airbnb and Blablacar are not on-demand startups
  3. 3. Slush Small Talks – 19 October 2015 The 4th generation of online marketplaces Classifieds Transactional Vertical On-demand
  4. 4. What kind of services? Transportation Parking Food delivery Beauty Biz servicesHome repair Slush Small Talks – 19 October 2015 Education Cleaning Healthcare and many more...
  5. 5. How urgent is the need? Slush Small Talks – 19 October 2015 < 5 minutes < 30 minutes <1 hour < 1 day < 1 week
  6. 6. How frequent is the need? Slush Small Talks – 19 October 2015 Multiple x/ day Once / day Once / week Once / month Once / year
  7. 7. How standard is the task? Slush Small Talks – 19 October 2015 Skills Supply
  8. 8. Is mobile a game-changer? Isthesuppliermobile? Slush Small Talks – 19 October 2015 NOYES NO YES Is the user mobile?
  9. 9. Can it ever be profitable? Slush Small Talks – 19 October 2015 ● Utilisation rate of labour is key in the first years (until demand is high enough to enable “pay- per-task” model): ● Other COGS can be high (parking space, cost of food, insurance, payments, etc.) ● Net contribution margin will likely be low post marketing: it’s a scale game
  10. 10. While it is likely to become the dominant model in every category over time, on-demand is best suited to standard services addressing urgent and frequent needs, where both the users and the suppliers are inherently mobile. Today, transportation and food appear to be the two sectors best suited to the model, but more will emerge as consumers’ expectations keep on rising. Slush Small Talks – 19 October 2015 Conclusion

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