An introduction to platform co-ops (Stephen Reid)
22nd November 2020
What does ‘platform’ mean here?
“The word ‘platform’ is often used to describe an internet service which brings together suppliers and consumers in an online marketplace. But platforms don’t necessarily provide traditional ‘products’; they often facilitate the trade of services, like taxis or temporary accommodation. Most people have heard of Uber and Airbnb, whose platforms have disrupted the minicab and short-term lettings industries while generating enormous profits for their shareholders.
What is a platform co-op?
“A platform cooperative, or platform co-op, is a cooperatively owned, democratically governed business that establishes a computing platform, and uses a website, mobile app or a protocol to facilitate the sale of goods and services. Platform cooperatives are an alternative to venture capital-funded platforms insofar as they are owned and governed by those who depend on them most—workers, users, and other relevant stakeholders.”