On-demand service industry turning heads for tech-friendly investors
Tuesday 5th May 2015
Laundrapp, Hassle, Boxman, 1Roof, Pact Coffee – perhaps not household names just yet, but all London-based disruptor services that share a few things in common. Each have been through – or are going through – successful raises in the last six months (£2 million for Pact Coffee, a whopping $6 million for Hassle), and each work in what might be termed the ‘on-demand sector’.
On-demand is nothing new, of course – Amazon have been sending books to your door on-demand for years – but there’s a definite trend developing amongst these London startups, each looking to simplify and modernise services or chores that you might not expect digital technology to have a role in.
‘The internet has modernised so many industries,’ explains Boxman’s Paul Stricker, ‘but ours was standing still.’ He expects his company, a London self-storage company with a difference (all you have to do is pack), to reach a £2 million turnover in 2016, with demand for his service doubling month-on-month since a rebranding back in summer 2014. ‘We can buy anything we want online and have it delivered to our door,’ he adds, ‘so why should we have to drive ourselves to a bleak self-storage depot and lug all our heavy boxes around by ourselves?’
Stricker’s way of thinking is common to each of these companies. Whereas, once-upon-a-time, app-focused startups would look at creating cool bits of tech in the hope that a market might develop around them, the on-demand industry seems to have purposefully looked at services that people already need, and built services that remove the chore element. Whether they’re working with freshly ground coffee or dry cleaning, the central tenet for Pact Coffee, Hassle and Laundrapp is the same: don’t worry about adding it to your checklist – we’ll bring it straight to your door.
As Hassle puts it, ‘there are better ways to spend your lazy Sunday’, and the market seems to have responded approvingly. ‘I could have spent a lot of time looking for a guy to unblock the sink,’ says one happy 1Roof customer, ‘but [it was] fixed in less than two hours.’ Admittedly, not the most glamorous of services, but that’s beside the point; the on-demand service industry is winning people’s weekends back, several chores at a time – an investment you might find you now have the time to explore.
Editorial Contact Details - Conor Shilling