On-demand Service Startups Start Targeting the Suburbs

July 5, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Food delivery startup Farm Hill announced their intention to expand into San Francisco last week, which doesn’t sound like hot news until you look at the context — specifically, the expansion “into” rather than “out of” a city. Farm Hill is backed by high-profile VCs like SOMA Capital and associated with Standford’s accelerator StartX.

Regardless, rather than start out in the dense, wealthy urban center of San Francisco they went in the opposite direction and “headed for the hills.” By serving the suburbs in the surrounding area, they found a rich and untapped market for on-demand services that hasn’t been getting nearly enough attention from mobile app developers keen to cash in on the delivery trend: the suburbs.

Starting local has long been a tenant of scalable on-demand mobile app developers, but the over-saturation of on-demand startups in urban centers like Chicago and New York may have reached a tipping point.

With a delivery service for every possible house or office need sprouting up every week, it’s enough to make San Francisco iPhone app developers roll their eyes when they hear the term “Uber for x.” Now, small startups looking to get a foot in the door will begin plying their luck outside the hip, central districs and instead look to the quieter streets of the outlying areas.

While serving consumers across a wide area as opposed to the dense urban center creates some challenges for mobile app developers, startups like Farm Hill have found ways to both survive and thrive — particularly since there’s less competition outside downtown.

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