“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.” CB Insights

On its blog, the research firm CB Insights has identified a growing array of startups that want to provide support services for on-demand economy companies* and their workers. As described in the post, “Pickaxes and Shovels,” the company identified 35 startups that are providing infrastructure services to the growing array of companies that want to be the “Uber for X,”**

This graphic shows 35 startups CB Insights identified that provide various types of supportive services to participants in the on-demand economy.


Don’t forget traditional freelancers
and independent workers

The on-demand economy is getting an enormous amount of attention these days, and deserves it due to its rapid growth. But the numbers clearly show traditional freelancers and independent workers vastly outnumber the people working in the on-demand economy. In other words, while the coverage may be drawn to on-demand startups, don’t forget the important economic significance of traditional independent worker sector.


*”On-demand economy” is a term being applied to smartphone app-enabled marketplaces where individuals provide services or a shared-product (yard tools, for example) to other individuals or businesses who need such skills or products for a specific task or period of time.

**””Uber for X” is a term being applied to startups that hope to establish a marketplace of individuals who wish to provide (sell) and use (buy) a product or service in a narrow niche or geographic area. Its name relates to the way Uber provides such a service for automobile drivers and passengers.

This analysis is by Steve King of Emergent Research, a regular contributor to SmallBusiness.com. A version of this appeared also on his blog, Small Business Labs.

For more background regarding the infrastructure of the on-demand economy, see these articles that appear on Steve’s blog, Small Business Labs:


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