Is Sidecar’s demise an indication of the beginning of a shakeout in food delivery?

And now there will be two.

Sidecar’s announcement this week that it won’t be a ride-hailing and delivery service as of Dec. 31 was not a surprise. It was a distant third to Uber and Lyft in the ride-hailing department.

But Sidecar’s apparent demise (the company co-founder says the firm will work on its “strategic alternatives”) may underscore the vulnerability of others in crowded on-demand economy sectors. Food delivery may be next.

Sidecar’s story may prove a truism: Even if a company builds a business, there may be no good exit, no IPO, no deep-pocket buyer.

In a blog post, Sunil Paul, Sidecar’s co-founder and chief executive, outlined how the 4-year-old San Francisco firm, which raised $35 million, had innovated, adapted and survived:

We changed transportation law, and created a new mode of transportation that has transformed cities and made life easier and better for millions of people.

Being first comes with some bragging rights, but it doesn’t secure survival. As Uber and Lyft expanded and gobbled up investments, Sidecar was available in just 10 U.S. cities, as the Los Angeles Times noted.

Sidecar kept fighting. In February, it expanded its mission to deliver food and other items, working with Eat24 and Peach.

But Uber also jumped into that market with its UberRush service, which launched in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

“This is the end of the road for the Sidecar ride and delivery service,” Paul wrote. “It’s by no means the end of the journey for the company.”

Above: An image of Sidecar Deliveries, its same-day delivery service.

 

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