'We're the Uber of X!'
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Yesterday, news broke that Alexandra Wilkis Wilson will leave Gilt Groupe, the flash sale luxury site she co-founded, to take over as CEO for Glamsquad, a service that allows women to conveniently summon stylists to their home/gym/office via the company's app.
Or, in the words of Business Insider, the startup is "sort of an Uber for women's haircuts."
By this point, "it's the Uber of X" is a phrase you've probably heard a ton – it seems like a third of new startups either purport to being the Uber of something, or have been dubbed so by the press. And for good reason: Uber is one of the hottest companies around, with a reported valuation of $18 billion (not bad for a company founded in 2009).
As the sharing economy has also taken off – thanks, in very large part to Uber – startups are looking to cash in on Uber's explosive success and the white hot market it helped create. Meanwhile, for journalists, it's just so easy: Writing about a company that uses mobile devices to coordinate the on-demand delivery of a service or product? There's a mindless formula for that now, one that I've certainly used it (Instacart is the Uber of grocery delivery, guys!) as have many, many others.
In that vein, here's a brief overview of the vast number of startups that have been described/describe themselves as the Uber of something. From medical marijuana to lawn care to hot man dudes, these 'Uber of X' are peddling an impressively eclectic list of products and services.
The Uber of food delivery: SpoonRocket, an app that allows you to select one of two or three available $8 meals per day and have it delivered to your home (provided it's in San Francisco) in 15 minutes or less.
"Uber is the taxi button on your phone," Steven Hsiao, SpoonRocket's co-founder, told Mashable. "We are the food button on your phone."
The Uber of flowers: BloomThat, an app that allows you to select flowers from "an evolving menu of curated bouquets" (prices start at $35) and have them delivered to a specified location (again, as long as it's in San Francisco) in under 90 minutes.
'Bloomthat, the 'Uber-For-Flowers,' Pulls In $2M From SV Angel, Ashton Kutcher -- TechCrunch
"Hollywood has found a solution for its dirty laundry," wrote The Hollywood Reporter. "Washio, an Uber-like app for laundry and dry-cleaning services, has bagged $2.25 million in seed funding."
The Uber of grocery delivery: Instacart, a service that lets you online shop from a range of local stores, except instead of receiving groceries directly from the grocer, orders are shopped for and delivered by locals who apply to work with the company.
I wrote about Instacart back in June, and threw out the Uber comparison: "Instacart, the Uber for grocery delivery, announced today it has raised $44 million in a Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz."
The Uber of alcohol: Saucey employs a fleet of drivers who will go to your local liquor store, buy and deliver alcohol to you (provided you live in Los Angeles and are over 21).
'For Lazy Tipplers, There's an Uber of Alcohol' – Businessweek
The Uber of medical marijuana: Eaze, which delivers medical marijuana to your door (you order via its smartphone app).
"Like Uber (and like other apps, launched last month, that also claim to be the "Uber of marijuana), Eaze is able to dodge all those pesky regulations that cost money stifle innovation," wrote SF Weekly.
The Uber of hot man dudes: ManServants, a service that's apparently launching in September (in San Francisco, of course) will deliver hot, order-following men (as long as those orders are PG) to your door.
'So what do we make of ManServants, the Uber of hot dudes?” – PandoDaily
The Uber of lawn care: GreenPal, an app that connects lawn mowers and lawn owners.
"CEO Bryan Clayton describes his company as an 'Uber for lawn care,'" reported The Tennessean. "He developed it after more than 15 years of experience in the lawn care business."
The Uber of mortgage lending: Privlo, a company that locates individuals who have been denied traditional mortgage financing but who it nonetheless deems reliable (based on a set of criteria), and provides them with a loan.
While I find the analogy precarious, VentureBeat apparently didn't.