Uber Investor working on "Instawork" -- Gig Work for Hospitality Industry

Jon York

Nov 30, 2018
What City & State do you work in?
New York City
Bill Gurley with Benchmark who was an early investor in Uber is backing a new kind of gig platform according to the Wall Street Journal. Maybe the accompanying photo will help explain it.
Did that help!?

Anyway, the new platform is going to be called and it matches "restaurants and hospitality businesses with job-seeking waiters, cooks and dishwashers."

One thing Instawork has done that seems about right is they have kept a low profile since their founding. They launched in 2015 but pretty much no one has ever heard of them. Mr. Gurley said, “We wanted to get the model right with unit economics and customers satisfaction right before we scale it,” he said. “A lot of companies make a mistake because money is available and then they try to perfect it at a much bigger level, which I think is a mistake.”

That is really smart actually. Take Uber. They launched and a year or so later they were hugely famous and investors began showering billions of dollars on them. But they were giving them all this money long before they had worked out a profitable business model and a model that was good for all stake holders, including the riders, drivers and Uber corporate itself. (as we all know).

So this seems really smart. Stay small get your act together and then you're in a great position to take on rapid growth. Uber had all its rapid growth long before they had figured out how to make it a thriving business. And that's why you see them losing so much money today - when they should by all rights be hugely profitable.

And like Hyr.work which was written about here recently Instawork (not to be confused with Instacart) seems to be doing more to help its workers. They (say at least) that they'd like to help workers find better and higher paying jobs. Their goal is to help their workers "learn skills to move up the ladder", according to Mr. Gurley, who by the way is on Instawork's board. They've designed their listings to help workers get experience and reviews from businesses in a low-level job that can help them move up. Like a dishwasher could move up to a cook.

One difference between this and Hyr.work is that Hyr.work lets the employers set and advertise their own prices to workers, then workers can pick and choose among them based on who's offering the best pay.

The reason these two companies make sense is because a lot of restaurants have super high turnover rates and there's always a shortage of workers. So this could really help them. It could also help inexperienced workers get more experience without having to go through the rigors of a traditional job interview. But of course that would mean the quality of workers would go down - and maybe your dishes wouldn't be so clean.

All in all this sounds like a great startup and a gig company to keep your eyes on. And it sounds like it could provide some higher paying jobs than being an uber driver... like being a waiter.
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Dec 7, 2018
What City & State do you work in?
Long Island, NY
Haha! It must be good. That guy looks really happy!


Feb 4, 2019
What City & State do you work in?
Glendale AZ
This just sounds like a narrowed-down version of Monster.com. Kudos to this dude for using his $$$ the smart way, though!