8 Companies Shaping the Future of the Booming Online Work Economy
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Online and on-demand work is changing the way an increasingly large chunk of the population puts money in their pockets, opening up new opportunities for professionals to work from home or connect with local opportunities using an app.
Businesses benefit by being able to outsource work to people across the world and employees benefit by being able to make money on their own terms. Since 2010, on-demand economy businesses have received $94 billion in funding and they continue to grow as 2016 begins.
Here are eight companies leading the discussion on how work gets done in the next decade.
Amazon has already dominated ecommerce and now it’s moving into local delivery with its Amazon Prime Now service. Through Amazon Flex, workers can sign up to make $18 to $25 an hour delivering for Amazon. Although the company is still building and expanding its delivery services, the company is already being labeled a disruptor in the package-delivery market.
Uber has completely disrupted the on-demand transportation industry and become the prime example of how consumers can help consumers one on one, with only an app to act as an intermediary. The company’s success can be attributed to the fact that it improved upon a much-needed service by offering lower prices and a better experience.
Although Lyft is only worth $5.5 million compared to Uber’s $62.5 billion, the lower-valued ride-sharing service recently made headlines with its partnership with GM. The investment signals a future where drivers might request a self-driving car using an app rather than owning their own cars. Having Lyft under its wing already will give GM access to the technology that powers the ride-sharing company.
LeadGenius uses a unique combination of real human researchers and machine learning to help businesses scale their lead generation. With researchers in more than 40 countries, 53 percent of whom have college degrees or higher, LeadGenius has been able to outpace competitors that rely on software alone. B2B leads are gathered using the latest technology but researchers also manually collect and quality-assure leads to make sure businesses get the most high-quality, relevant prospects available. LeadGenius’ network of skilled researchers is notable for mirroring the structure of traditional workforce where workers specialize and collaborate in teams. LeadGenius is the fastest growing of the initial companies to support the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Good Work Code.
While there are many errand-based sharing-economy services, Alfred combines multiple types of errands in one app. Local workers provide services like grocery shopping, dry cleaning, and house cleaning, with the app eventually learning what services customers might need at a given time. Service costs range from $15 to $42 per week and the company is already thriving in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with plans to expand to new cities soon.
Instacart limits its services to grocery shopping, gathering local shoppers in each service area to purchase and deliver groceries from stores like Whole Foods, Target, Costco, and Safeway. While most workers are independent contractors, shoppers in some areas can apply to be part-time employees for the company. Although the company is doing well, increasing competition from Amazon Prime Now and Walmart’s grocery pickup service has forced it to make a few cutbacks.
TaskRabbit has been around since 2008, but the company has been gradually expanding to new markets. Locals in participating areas can offer services like moving, cleaning, putting together IKEA furniture, home repairs, and more. In 2013, TaskRabbit added 1.25 million users and doubled its contractor base to a total of 25,000.
Many people think of Google as a search engine, but the company actually has a stake in a wide variety of innovative industries. RideWith is the company’s foray into ride sharing, currently being tested in Israel. The app is a spinoff of traffic crowdsourcing site Waze, a company Google acquired in 2013. RideWith will work similarly to Uber and Lyft, only users will be able to access it through Waze. Those who are in need of transportation merely need to enter their commute info and the app will locate a driver in the area.
The sharing economy opens up opportunities for workers to work for themselves full time or make extra money on the side. With these companies growing so rapidly, they’re changing a variety of industries in positive ways.