Question: Pre-Uber, how many startups were trying to disrupt the transportation industry?
Answer: No clue but way fewer than there are right now. Transportation was always viewed as an old school, unwieldy, high investment dollar industry that only fools invested in. The closest we came to transportation disruption was Zipcar and even that seemed like an uphill battle the entire time. However, they paved the way for Uber to come in and fully disrupt transportation and potentially other industries as well.
Today, with Uber being valued at greater than $15 billion, transportation is viewed as a “hot” industry and startups are popping up all over the place.
Never mind that everyone has known taxis were awful since the first time they ever rode in one. It was always just one of those things we lived with:
“Oh man, I gotta carry enough cash for the cab”
“It’s impossible to get a cab in this city” (not in NYC or Chicago but everywhere else)
“I hope this cab takes credit card”
Most of us probably thought, “well this is the way taxis are and have always been”. It’s only in hindsight that the disruption seems so obvious and inevitable.
I can’t see the future but here are some “old school” industries that may be ripe for disruption in the next few years:
Arguably, Uber fits in this category since part of the reason for their explosive growth has to be because government has done such a terrible job with public transportation services. Think about how low the bar is with bus or subway service. I’m happy with my BART trip as long as there aren’t any bodily fluids on the seat I’m sitting on.
Similar to above – how is it that cities have tons of available parking but since they are on private property, no one can park there? That’s lose-lose for both the property owner and the person trying to park. Win-win is so much better and I guarantee one of the parking startups out there (or maybe one that has yet to be created?) will gain mainstream adoption and completely change city parking for the better. As someone who hates (and is terrible at) parallel parking, I hope this happens soon.
This one is self-explanatory. Taxes and compliance SUCK for individuals and businesses. Great pain = great opportunity.
There’s probably dozens more that aren’t even on my radar because I just think of them as existing and not as industries to disrupt. More likely than not, the next industry to be disrupted won’t come from my list at all. These things usually aren’t logical. And that’s part of the fun.