“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.

on-demaind-infrastructure


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:

 

3
Lawsuits are Clouding the Future of On-demand Economy Startups

The difference in the definition of independent worker and company employee is becoming an important factor in the future of on-demand economy startups like Uber.

4
What’s Behind the Backlash Against the On-Demand Economy and Independent Workers?

The majority of independent workers prefer being independent. However, a sizable minority don’t like their work and would prefer traditional employment.

5
The On-Demand Economy May Be Headed for a Talent War

Are there enough independent contractors to meet the demand for the on-demand workers necessary to operate these companies?

6
“Are Uber Drivers Employees of Uber?” and Why The Answer is Important

Agencies like the California Labor Commission have issued rulings that Uber drivers are employees, not contractors. What does that mean to the future of the “on-demand economy.”

7
Amazon Expands its On-Demand Marketplace of ‘Home Services’ in 15 U.S. Metropolitan Areas

Amazon continues to go local with the expansion of Amazon Home Services, an on-demand marketplace to match customers with home-related service-providers.

8
What Were They Drinking? Startups Focusing on Same Day Alcohol Delivery

Same day alcohol delivery — wine, beer and spirits — is the last frontier in convenience and on-demand local delivery,

9
Coverage of an On-demand Economy Backlash Continues to Miss the Positives

The majority of on-demand workers like what they are doing, a fact missing from coverage suggesting there’s an on-demand economy backlash.

10
Google Testing a Search Tool for the On-Demand Economy

Google is testing a search-engine enabled on-demand marketplace.

11
Amazon Prime Now Drivers Join in On-Demand Economy Lawsuit Parade

Amazon.com is being sued in California courts by former Amazon Prime Now delivery drivers in a proposed class-action suit.

12
Amazon Moving Ahead of Google in Home Delivery Race, What That Means for Small Business

Amazon Prime Now is in 20 markets compared to Google Express’ seven.

13
On-demand Economy Participants Typically Work 12 Hours a Week to Augment Household Income

Augmenting their household income is the primary reason independent workers participate in the on-demand economy.

14
New Small Businesses Are Emerging From the On-demand Economy

The on-demand business model is growing the segment of small business called “sole proprietors” or “single employee” businesses

15
The Five Faces of the On-Demand Workforce

Participants in the on-demand economy fall into different groups, different motivations and different levels of satisfaction.

16
Small Businesses Using On-Demand Economy to Access Tech Talent Pool

Because of the wave of on-demand economy companies, even the smallest of small businesses can use an app to connect with independent tech workers.

17
Yelp Joins Google, Amazon and a Slew of Startups in Home Services On-Demand Marketplace

Yelp adds Request a Quote feature to participating service providers.

18
Uber Settlement Defines Drivers as Independent Small Businesses, Not Employees

Uber has agreed to a class-action lawsuit settlement with drivers in California and Massachusetts

19
Shopify’s Ecommerce Merchants Can Now Offer Local, Same-Day Delivery in 200+ U.S. Locations

Ecommerce software provider Shopify is teaming up with on-demand same-day delivery service Postmates.

20
Uber Didn’t Create the On-Demand Economy, The On-Demand Economy Created Uber

Uber exists because of the growing need for highly flexible part-time work to supplement incomes.

21
Voters’ Decision Keeps Austin Too Weird For Uber, Lyft

Uber and Lyft, the ride-sharing, on-demand economy companies, lost a key vote by focusing on the wrong messages.

22
Employers Prefer Full Time Workers, But Agree That On-Demand Economy is Here to Stay | 2016

Employers have a love-hate relationship with the on-demand economy.

23
The On-Demand Economy Workforce Continues to Expand | 2017

Two-thirds of on-demand economy participants say they are satisfied with their work

24
HomeAdvisor Buys Angie’s List to Grow its Home Services On-Demand Marketplace

To compete with the giants creating new, on-demand home services marketplaces, HomeAdvisor acquires Angie’s List.

25
Gallup: Most Employees Who Work Varying Hours Like Their Schedules | 2017

According to Gallup, the majority of employees who work variable hours each week report no problems or financial hardship with the variable hours.

26
Two Small Business Trends That Contributed to Ikea’s Decision to Buy TaskRabbit | 2017

Are the acquisitions of TaskRabbit and Angie’s List pointing to the consolidation of the gig economy?