New Models for #Platformcoop Design: The Marriage of Techco and Co-Op
Over the years, we have advised our clients on dozens of #platformcoop designs, formations, and fundraising campaigns. While the cooperative structure has been used for decades as a legal vessel for both collective asset ownership (e.g. affordable and market-rate housing, commercial real estate, electric generation and distribution, manufacturing, processing, etc.) and for collective distribution access (marketing, processing, purchasing, franchising, etc.), it has not until recently been applied to the data-fueled tech sector.
More recently, we have worked with several #platformcoops that seek to create community-based marketplaces for various types of data (social media, medical, visual art, music, etc.). In these #platformcoops, the cooperative entities serve many functions, but two of the most important are: (i) to provide a content platform for creation, collaboration, sharing, and distribution, and (ii) a member-centric marketplace to monetize the data underlying the content platform. Let’s call the former ‘infrastructure’ and the latter ‘throughput utility.’ The infrastructure is the framework through which the throughput data is processed. Think of the highway system: the asphalt track, lanes, exits, and signage comprise the infrastructure; the vehicles, trucks, origins, destinations, and value and type of goods being transported are the throughput. We think of roadways and the highway system like a publicly-funded and maintained utility. Or, think of skyscrapers: the iron, windows, elevators, and internal structure are the infrastructure; the lower level retail businesses, commercial tenant businesses, and even residential spaces are the throughput. The infrastructure enables families to build homes, businesses to provide services, and stores to market and sell goods.