With a recent spike in on-demand services, there’s not much you can’t get whenever you want it.
photo: Michael Ransburg
There’s no denying we’re in the midst of a startup boom. Over the course of the last decade, we’ve seen newborn companies offering solutions to nearly any perceived inconvenience one could imagine. While plenty of them simply offer information about surrounding people, restaurants, or events, many are based around “on location” delivery models for services and goods. Much like the “.com” boom of the late-nineties, however, there are many who think this on-demand utopia is on its way out. Could the bubble burst? Sure, it’s happened before. In time, there may be only a handful of on-demand companies zipping around traffic in smart cars as the fossils of their less resilient brethren lie buried in the sedimentary pages of the internet. In the meantime, however, we might as well enjoy ’em.
Here are 5 of the more promising ones we think might be sticking around:
I have a small phobia of running out of gas. It’s grown bad enough that I start to get mildly panicky when I’m down to a quarter of a tank. No, it’s not unfounded – it happened, and it was just as horrible as I thought it would be. Luckily, Filld wants to make sure that never happens again.
First envisioned when one of the co-founders was almost out of gas himself, Filld allows you to request a full tank while you’re at work, at home, or even just out eating lunch. As long as you leave your gas cap slightly ajar, there’s no reason to even stop what you’re doing.
Though currently only avaiable in the Silicon Valley, Filld expects to expand as demand is scaled. While plans for diesel as well as higher octane fuels are planned for the future, currently only 87 octane is offered. Sadly, nothing but premium touches the inside of my 2008 Yaris hatch-back. Really lets the horses out of the stable, know what I mean?
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whenever and wherever you want.
A month or two ago, these guys came to our company to demonstrate a heart-monitoring service that, quite frankly, left me wondering when lunch was gonna show up. It was for the best. Not a few weeks after their visit, co-founder Mike Chen came up with Magic, a brand new service that fulfills virtually any request you can dream up (provided you can afford it and it’s legal). With few limitations and little to no real guidelines, Magic seems to have honed in on both the “quirky” demographic as well as the last-minute procrastinators. Within 48 hours of first being announced, Magic reportedly had over 17,000 texts.
While you probably won’t be able to acquire a human heart to show off to your goth friends (yes, they still exist), you can request last minute plane tickets to Las Vegas, flowers for your girlfriend (or boyfriend), the ability to cut to the front of the line, and even those rare Pokemon cards you always wanted.
After giving your billing and address info via the first text, it’s free to request anything and everything your twisted little mind can come up with.
Oh, and the Magic number to text is “83489.”
Spoonrocket places healthy food in your hands for less than $10 a meal and within 15 minutes of you placing your order. With company cars already out n’ about, apparently it’s not uncommon for some customers to receive their food within 30 seconds of ordering. Spoonrocket accomplishes this by only offering a few different options at any one time, and only during a small window during the day.
Often the one rolling my eyes at the sudden health-food craze that inexplicably hit 20 to 35 year-olds a few years ago, I was pretty surprised to find their menu was actually something I wanted to try. While there’s always a vegetarian item for our kombucha-sipping tree-children, meatier meals tend to look like this:
Being just about as “startup” as it gets, they’re more than happy to deliver to you, but only as long as you’re in downtown San Diego, downtown Seattle, and most parts of San Francisco. With a small yet colorful menu and a pretty solid delivery time, however, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be seeing them in your area eventually.
As far as on-demand services go, Luxe Valet hits it out of the park. If you’ve ever attempted to find parking in downtown San Francisco, then you know exactly why an on-demand valet service might be the best app on your phone.
While in one of their serviced areas, simply request a valet and they’ll take your car off your hands for $5 an hour, maxing at $15 for the day. Did you meet that special someone and end up spending the night (so you could play Scrabble)? Luxe charges $10 for any car that isn’t returned to its owner by the end of the day.
Surge prices do happen when demand is high, and service is only offered in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, but they’ll also refuel and wash your car for a charge. My bet is they’ll be taking over bigger metros soon.
You didn’t think I’d make this list without putting us in here do you?
A few years ago a Cal Poly student named AJ Forsythe was getting sick of breaking his phone (the iPhone 3GS). After a bit of research he found out it wasn’t too difficult to source the parts himself and replace the screen with a bit of trial and error. This led to flyers being posted around the campus which led to a bit of seed money from investors which led to a network of over 2000 “iTechs” ready to tackle on-location phone repairs in most US cities as well as London and Berlin.
Currently the world’s largest on-demand service for iphone repair, iCracked has a hearty team of boys and girls ready to fix whatever ailments your phone exhibits wherever you may be.
Our office in Redwood City, CA is always bustling with bare-footed developers, an unusually good-looking blogger, and even the occasional out-of-state iTech visiting on vacation. We also have a pool table, a Wii U, and a margarita machine. Just sayin…