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As Disruptions Shackle Uber, Is it Time for Local On-Demand Startups to Takeover?

By Tushar 21st March 2017

From being a disruption for multiple enterprises to facing disruptions on multiple fronts, the Uber story of global dominance seems to have hit a dead end. For a while now, Uber’s story is being projected on two different fronts. While the first belongs to excited investors who are burning cash, hoping for the brand value to pay for the sustainability of the brand, there is another group looking to tackle this reckoning force by offering on-demand transportation services in specific areas. These startups do not have the valuations or even a nationwide dominance, but quite unlike Uber, they are reaping profits slowly and carving a place for themselves amongst the users. Thus, one wonders if it’s time for entrepreneurs and startups to become the first real disruption for Uber?

Touted as Dublin’s own taxi app, Lynk is overshadowing Uber, thus becoming a part of the trend that is being amplified world over. In Copenhagen, Denmark, ‘Drivr’ is already displacing Uber as the most favored ground transportation service, thus setting the stage for a slow and painful exit of Uber. Sweden has also been taking some progressive steps towards on-demand taxi services, with enterprises like ‘GoMore’ registering impressive numbers along with multiple other startups.

In many prominent cities of India, the biggest marketplace for Uber given their misadventure in China, a hyperlocal service, Jugnoo, is taking over. Turns out, users are becoming more inclined towards local service providers, for they believe they can be accessed easily in case something goes wrong. For many, it’s just about supporting the local economy. The story of Lynk and Jugnoo is not that of disruption alone, but of success through careful and calculation execution, and more importantly, impeccable and unparalleled services.

Constant driver strikes, regulation hurdles, PR mishaps, and an inaccessible customer service has ensured Uber’s alienation from global dominance. Given how the top brass of Uber has stressed the importance of the brand having a worldwide presence to pay for years of burning cash, Uber could face a total meltdown if it isn’t able to set its house in order. As the local startups make hay while the sun shines away from Uber, there is potential for local startups to rise, succeed, and be the trendsetters for the on-demand economy for the following decade.

Alongside, the economics for business is also favoring the rise of local on-demand startups, thus leading to better returns on every micro-economic transactions. The on-demand economy is all set to complete a decade, and a lot has been observed and learned since then. Given how the local startups are able to garner a more sustained user number along with revenues against their global counterparts, there is going to be a surge in the number of players on the local level. Eventually, this is going to render the giants of the on-demand economy pointless.

While Europe is slowly turning its gaze away from Uber, similar sized economies like India and China are now witnessing huge investments in local startups. As the world comes to terms with the fact that being successful is not about burning cash, a realization is dawning upon enterprises to do more at a small level, rather than aim for global dominance. The local startups in Denmark, Sweden, and Ireland are already changing the game in the on-demand economy, making the presence of local businesses indispensable to the future of ‘Uber for X’ culture. Thus, the ones looking to disrupt Uber with innovative on-demand business plans, the time is now.

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