Cooperative Economics | "Impact-First" Investing | Transformative Leadership

Driver’s Seat & the Big Paradoxes of our Time

I’m super excited about Driver’s Seat because they are tackling one of the big paradoxes of our time. The explosive growth of gig work (think Uber, DoorDash, Amazon delivery) has created the promise of flexibility and prosperity for millions of people, and yet the reality is that most gig workers struggle to make even a minimum wage. And ride hail and on-demand delivery promise affordable convenience for consumers, yet increase congestion and pollution while disrupting local small businesses. 

At the heart of this dynamic is the role of data in powering gig companies, managing gig workers, creating economic value, and shaping public policy. In short, gig companies have all the data, and with it are able to control all the outcomes. 

Driver’s Seat challenges that dynamic by empowering gig workers to collect, analyze, and profit from their own data, while sharing it in high impact ways with policymakers and other stakeholders.

At a nuts and bolts level, Driver’s Seat Cooperative gives gig workers an app that they use to collect work data and receive machine learning-generated insights on how to optimize their earnings. The Co-op team aggregates and analyzes that data and sells the analysis to local governments who are trying to address tough problems like congestion and infrastructure planning, and businesses in food, logistics, tourism, real estate, and transportation sectors who are trying to stay ahead in a rapidly changing marketplace. Co-op members participate in the profits from the analytics sales.

There are 2 million gig workers and a conservative TAM for the kinds of analytics Driver’s Seat has developed is $20 billion. The problems Driver’s Seat is engaged with have only deepened during COVID and will continue to be central to our economic and cultural debates for years to come. They’ve made a ton of progress in a very short time, and I’m excited to help them get to the next level of revenue, impact, and scale. 

The Driver’s Seat team will go deep on all of this tomorrow during a briefing I’m organizing. We’ll leave plenty of time for discussion and questions. They’re raising $650k in the near term and just got investments from Ford Foundation and DRK Foundation. Let me know if you’re interested.  

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