APIs, or application programming interfaces, are the backbone that allows different software programs to connect and communicate with each other. They provide a standardized method for building integrations and extending functionality without needing to create everything from scratch.

For on-demand and platform businesses, third-party APIs are especially crucial. On-demand companies strive to offer a wide range of services through a single interface, but building all capabilities internally would be an enormous undertaking. Fortunately, many common utility functions already have API-enabled solutions available.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 9 third-party APIs that every on-demand startup should consider integrating to enhance their platform features and operations. Properly leveraging third parties can help startups scale more quickly while avoiding unnecessary work. The APIs discussed here cover critical needs like payments, mapping, notifications, identity verification and more.

Let’s dive into each one. The goal is to highlight APIs that handle common utilities so development teams can focus their efforts on building their core business model and proprietary features. All platforms will have slightly different requirements, but these 9 are tried-and-true options worth evaluating for most on-demand businesses.

1. Payment Processing API

One API that’s an absolute must-have for any on-demand company taking money is a payment processing solution. While payment features can theoretically be built in-house, it’s far simpler and safer to use a dedicated provider’s APIs.

Stripe is one top option with an extensive payments API. Integration is straightforward via their SDKs and documentation. Features include robust fraud protection, handling complex international transactions, recurring billing, invoicing and more – things that take significant effort to develop securely on your own.

Customers are also accustomed to major brands like Visa and Mastercard logos which boosts trust compared to a homegrown payments page. Stripe also seamlessly handles things like PCI compliance so platforms don’t need to worry about sensitive payment data on their servers.

For on-demand marketplaces connecting multiple parties, payment solutions are paramount. Drivers and merchants want guaranteed, quick compensation for their work. Customers want a smooth checkout experience. A payments API handles all of this while also making international expansion simpler down the road.

2. Address Validation API

Address data is critically important for platforms involving deliveries, transportation or physical goods. Incorrect addresses lead to failed orders, wasted time/resources and unhappy customers. That’s why address validation from the get-go is so valuable.

SmartyStreets offers a robust address validation and verification API. During signups and order flows, addresses can be checked live against their enormous database of proper formats. This ensures accurate address parsing with real-time corrections to typos or missing details.

Platforms integrated also get ongoing address verification as SmartyStreets database updates continuously. This limits future issues from address changes. Their geocoding capabilities further allows mapping submitted addresses to latitude/longitude for routing optimization.

Ridesharing and food delivery apps especially benefit from precise address data. But any service handling addresses, like e-commerce, can see reduced costs from issues handled upfront through validation. Customers have a better experience too if their address is confirmed correctly the first time. Learn more about Zipprr

3. Map & Directions API

Visual mapping features and optimized routing are huge advantages for on-demand transportation and delivery services. Customers want to follow their driver or courier in real-time. Platforms want optimized routing to improve efficiency and margins.

Google Maps is the most full-featured option through their Maps and Routes APIs. Not only does it provide beautiful native maps with customizable styles, but calculates ETAs, traffic impacts and fastest routes between multiple points.

Real-time ETA updates are crucial for setting expectations and reducing cancellation rates. being able to see a vehicle progressing on a map brings confidence. Optimized multi-stop routing is also important to squeeze more deliveries into each contractor shift.

Integration with Google requires their API key, but is otherwise quite simple and well documented. Platforms get industry-leading mapping without sacrificing development resources. Customers are familiar with Google’s quality and reliability too. As range of transport types expand, these APIs scale readily.

4. SMS & Push Notification API

Proactive communication is key for on-demand businesses, yet building messaging capabilities from scratch is complex. That’s where omnichannel communication APIs shine by allowing real-time interactions across apps and devices.

Twilio stands out for their engagement and verification tools accessible through a straightforward HTTP API. Platforms can send SMS, voice calls and push notifications directly to customers and contractors.

Popular uses include order status updates, delivery ETA changes, offers, appointment reminders etc. Order changes that previously required support calls can now be automated via SMS. Users are kept engaged with relevant notifications rather than leaving the app.

Push notifications further allow platforms immediate access to customers already using other apps on their smartphone. These engagement features improve CX without infrastructure overhead. Twilio handles the complexities of international numbers and regulatory requirements inherent to telecom tools.

5. Background Check API

Due diligence is crucial for industries involving workers entering private homes or transporting individuals, like staffing, ridesharing or services. Rather than build verification tools, consider an API specialized for screening.

Anthropic provides a comprehensive background check API used by leading platforms in these spaces. Their checks go beyond basic criminal searches to also validate licenses, education, employment and social media – gaining a fuller picture of applicants.

Automating checks through their API streamlines contractor/employee onboarding significantly. It protects all parties through verified identities and qualifications. Platforms avoid legal risks from conducting background work themselves too.

Their checks typically return in under an hour during initial screening processes. Fast turnarounds do not compromise thoroughness as Anthropic combine AI with comprehensive public record databases. Safer, more qualified talent improves customer satisfaction and reputation in regulated industries.

6. Identity Verification API

Identity verification goes hand in hand with background checks for compliance and safety reasons. It also reduces account takeovers or fraudulent signups that waste support resources investigating.

Jumio strikes a balance between user privacy and authentication assurance through document verification. Their ID scanning API uses AI to match government IDs like driver’s licenses to live photos during account creation.

This upholds know-your-customer (KYC) standards without compromising the seamless onboarding experience customers expect. Sensitive personal details are not stored – only authentication results are returned.

Integrating identity verification deters malicious actors at signup while protecting real users’ privacy. It prevents countless wasted hours chasing fraudulent orders or accounts later. Jumio handles international credentials as platforms expand user bases too.

7. Customer Data Platform API

User profiles are invaluable for delivering personalized experiences at scale. Yet profiles frequently live scattered across siloed systems lacking a unified view. A customer data platform (CDP) consolidates these profiles.

Segment’s CDP has powerful APIs for collecting, cleansing and activating customer data segmented by behavioral patterns. It pulls information from different sources like web analytics, CRM and automated CRM tools into centralized enriched profiles.

This gives platforms a single source of truth to understand users on deeper levels. Personalized communications, product recommendations and marketing campaigns dramatically improve results like retention, cross-selling and LTV.

Best of all, Segment abstracts away the complexity of building this infrastructure manually. Platforms gain a powerful profile toolbox without extensive dev resources. Data access is controlled, portable and future-proof too as the CDP evolves with new collection sources.

8. Login/Authentication API

User account creation and login workflows aren’t the flashiest functionality, yet botching these experiences creates major CX issues down the line. Building authentication securely from scratch is also nontrivial.

Instead, leverage an authentication specialist like Auth0 that seamlessly handles all of this heavy lifting through their simple API and flexible SDKs. They support username/password, social media and multi-factor signups across platforms from any device.

Platforms get fully-featured account management out of the box, including passwordless, magic link and biometric logins. Auth0’s central dashboard manages settings, integrations, user directories and permissions easily too.

Best of all, platforms inherit Auth0’s industry-leading security practices like regular penetration testing and compliance certifications. No more headaches from account breaches or credential stuffing attacks. Users enjoy familiar login options streamlining the onboarding process as well.

9. Document Management API

Physical/digital files often still play supporting roles in on-demand industries, from scanned receipts to contracts to media files. Instead of self-hosting this content, leverage a secure document platform.

Dropbox’s API provides scalable storage and workflows for any file type requirement. Platforms can upload, preview, comment on and share documents programmatically through simple REST endpoints.

Contractors, vendors and customers gain seamless access to files from any device throughDropbox’s familiar interface. Regulated verticals like healthcare benefit from HIPAA-compliant encryption and auditing too.

Meanwhile development teams avoid infra headaches around file servers, streaming, permissions and security patches. Dropbox handles scalable storage, eDiscovery features, file previews and more as needs grow. Integrations are simple via convenient SDKs too.


While building functionality from scratch provides more control, focusing internal efforts exclusively on proprietary features risks spreading resources too thin. The APIs highlighted cover utilities that are mature, proven, and handle common needs more securely and scalably than bespoke solutions.

By standardizing on market-leading third parties for non-differentiating back-end work, on-demand startups can accelerate product development and spend more time innovating their core offerings. Integration also gives startups access to established security best practices and compliance standards that would require considerable budget and expertise to develop in-house. Overall, third-party APIs reduce risk, tap specialized expertise, and promote more rapid growth.

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