Disrupting Together: The Challenges (And Opportunities) for Platform Co-operatives
Through our own research, and in particular through observing the development of a new ride-hailing app started by drivers in South Yorkshire, we have identified five areas of challenge for platform co-operatives. Firstly, platform co-ops are not attractive to traditional venture capitalists and tech investors. Platform co-ops can utilise other sources of capital (crowdfunding, co-operative banks and credit unions, or blockchain and alternative currencies) but will still never be able to match the billions raised in Silicon Valley. Secondly, co-operatives must commit long-term operational and financial commitment to building and maintaining their technology. Thirdly, coops need technology which can enable it to recruit drivers and passengers in parallel, and to distribute the profits of the business. Fourth, platform co-ops must find a way of subsidising their early entry into the market in order to build a profile for themselves. And fifth, platform co-ops must find a way to harness the virtuous cycle of positive network effects.