Before You Build That ‘Uber For X’ For Indian Market!

Once upon a time, every Internet entrepreneur was building a Groupon clone, then came AirBnB clones. The trend, now is ‘Uber For X’ – i.e. on demand mobile services (or rather, ODMS) for X. Replace X with anything of your choice – food delivery/ice cream/laundry/doctor, deliver it on user’s mobile and there you go – a Uber For X.

What Uber For X Means

Uber For X
Here Goes Another Uber For X!

– Two-sided marketplace (you need a vendor and a customer).

– Mostly meant for on-demand services (on-the-go).

– Delivered as mobile App only (no web).

In India, quite a few entrepreneurs have started working on ‘Uber For X’ services (Silicon Valley started the trend in 2013). Given the unstructured nature of Indian service industry, there is obviously a huge opportunity to bring them under a common platform.

Importantly, Silicon Valley is seeing massive investment flowing in ‘Uber For X’ companies.

Uber For X : Growth In Funding (Silicon Valley)
Uber For X : Growth In Funding (Silicon Valley)

Over the past two years, on demand mobile service (ODMS) startups have raised $874M across 87 deals. ODMS startups raised $500M across 52 deals in the the past four quarters, a 33% increase from $374M in funding and a 49% uptick in deals from 35 over the same time period a year ago. [Via]

Building Uber For X In India

Actually, there are already quite a few Uber For X services in India(mostly, started with web versions) – for e.g. practo, mgaadi, babajobs etc.

But before you build Uber For X, you need to answer whether everything is an ‘on-demand service’? The truth is it’s not.

For example, in order to build Uber For Doctor, you need to create a two-sided marketplace where doctors (or clinics) also  have real time access to timesheet, for one to book an appointment on-the-go.

I am not talking about competing with a local search player which also provides contact info of the clinic which you can call up and book an appointment – that also is a on-the-go solution, right?

The key is to enable access to both the parties on a realtime basis, so that there is no intermediary. And before you do that, first answer if the service you are providing is really an on-demand service?

Secondly, Uber For X is beyond the parallax effect on your website. I see several startups creating great looking sites with very little functional utility of the product.

When you are building Uber For X, you need to provide a solution to the service industry for them to participate in your platform. For instance, one of the entrepreneurs solving for ‘Uber For Autos’ is facing a huge challenge of cartelization among auto drivers – so much so that the company has exited that particular locality because the auto drivers won’t allow any autos that are part of his ‘uber for autos’ service.

That is, local challenges. And local solutions. Nothing to do with your parallax site. Nothing to do with your positioning as ‘Uber For X’. Nothing to do with that green button in your app!

If you really want to solve a ‘Uber For X’ problem in India, get out of your AC office, understand the local challenges and build for that. Till then, your ‘Uber For X’ is just a good self-fulfilling talk.

TL;DR : Uber For X (in India) is NOT a Product / Technology Problem. It’s more to do with solving the two-sided marketplace logistics (supply-chain).

Image credit : shutterstock

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