It seems like almost every day there's news about a startup that uses independent workers accessed via the cloud as a key part of their business model.
What these - and many others - have in common is their business models assume a large supply of on-demand, contract labor accessible via the Internet.
Door Dash, for example, is looking for independent contractors who own their own car and are available between 11am-2pm and 4:30pm-10pm. Instacart is also looking for people with cars who are looking for flexible work schedules.
These firms join a rapidly growing list of companies - think Task Rabbit, Fiverr, Mechanical Turk, Crowd Flower, etc. - that use independent contractors via the cloud.
Food delivery in particular seems to be booming. According to Tech Crunch food delivery companies raising substantial investment rounds this year include:
"Sprig raised $10 million, Spoonrocket just raised $11 million, Caviar raised $15 million, Postmates raised $16 million, and Munchery just raised an additional $23 million."
All of these firms rely on independent contractors for delivery.
And, of course, Uber and Lyft need lots of drivers. According to the Washington Post, Uber alone has been adding 20,000 drivers per month globally.
This proliferation of cloud labor platforms is good news for independent workers looking for work. It provides more options and hopefully the competition will lead to higher wages.
Both Instacart and Door Dash claim to pay well. Key quote from the NY Times article on Instacart:
Instacart’s shoppers earn from $15 to $30 an hour, depending on how quickly they deliver people’s food. That’s quite a high wage considering the job does not require a college degree, is part time and can be done during flexible hours.
Uber's independent drivers also seem to do well. Key quote from the above mentioned Washington Post article:
According to Uber, the median wage for an UberX driver working at least 40 hours a week in New York City is $90,766 a year. In San Francisco, the median wage for an UberX driver working at least 40 hours a week is $74,191.
The growing number of businesses reliant on independent cloud labor is one of the reasons we are forecasting continued growth in the number of independent workers.