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Future Tech: 

Uber for X: On-demand apps for almost anything

When an app becomes as popular as Uber, one thing that you can pretty much guarantee is copycats. Uber wasn’t the first cab hailing app – far from it – but between its slick, simplified design and a particularly aggressive pricing strategy, it’s managed to establish itself as a market leader. So, with ‘Build your own Uber for X’ kits available from just $400, it’s no great surprise to find developers circling the Uber model like a pack of vultures over a plate of fillet steak.

As app stores become increasingly flooded with startups trying to emulate Uber’s success, let’s take a look at some of the best and most likely to succeed.

The best ‘Uber for X’ apps

1. Doctors


If there’s one service that could really benefit from the ‘Uber for X’ model, it’s medical help. Booking an appointment with your local GP can be an arduous process – particularly if you’re feeling under the weather – and more often than not they’ll send you away with instructions to “take it easy” and “get some rest”. Apps like Medicast and Heal want to bring back the doctor’s house call, meaning you can take their advice while you wait for assistance to come to your door. Just make sure you ring 911 if it’s an emergency.

2. Alcohol


Speaking of emergencies, you’ve run out of beer. Thankfully apps like Minibar and Saucey on the West Coast are on hand to save the day, partnering with stores around your city to deliver your tipple within 30-60 minutes. Whether the party has run dry or you’re shopping for gifts, these apps make it easy.

In somewhat related news, healthcare expert Snoop Dogg recently invested millions in Eaze, an Uber-like app that specializes in the delivery of medical marijuana.

3. Pet and babysitters

For parents, getting a sitter means careful planning and constantly calling in favors, but with Urban Sitter you can find a reliable nanny nearby in a matter of minutes. Like Uber, the app uses a rating system so you know your chosen sitter is trustworthy, complete with reviews and recommendations from friends and parents in your network.

It’s not just parents that can benefit from this system either, with Dog Vacay you can scour the web for a willing animal-lover to look after your dog, cat, rabbit or snake when you can’t be around.

4. Laundry


While apps to find medical care or a last-minute babysitter serve a genuine need, sometimes the ‘Uber for X’ model succeeds out or pure laziness. Sure, nobody actually needs somebody to pick up their dirty laundry and return it smelling fresh and clean within 24 hours, but if the option is there

5. Grocery shopping


The same logic applies to Instacart, which puts you in command of a team of personal shoppers to outsource your weekly grocery run. Online grocery shopping isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but when you have an on-demand app that promising 60-minute wait times it’s no surprise it’s been funded to the tune of $275 million.

6. Tech support


The Uber for X model is also great for giving customers easier access to skilled workers. Geekatoo is billing itself as a rent-a-geek service for all your technical needs, which strikes us as perfect for older users who are embarrassed about leaning on their younger, tech-savvy relatives. The apps boasts more than 3,000 ‘verified geeks’ across the UK, and while we’re not sure what qualifications you’d need to to achieve that status, it’s pretty good coverage for an app in its infancy.

7. Massage


Another skilled area with its own Uber app is massage – in fact it’s got several – with Zeel, Soothe and Unwind all competing to loosen up your joints and help you relax.

8. Anything else?


If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, then Postmates is your courier service for just about anything else. They’ll bring you food from your favorite restaurants, deliver your letters or pick-up your suit from the dry cleaners (that’s if you haven’t hired Washio to do it for you already). Now, I wonder if they’ll come and finish this article for us so we can order something from Minibar and take the rest of the day off.

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