Why Ride-Hailing App Juno’s Acquisition Points to a Need for Platform Co-ops
The New York City based ride-hailing app Juno was widely marketed as a different type of platform — one that values its drivers. The company went as far as to say that it would give equity to its drivers. However, in an unexpected turn of events, Juno announced in April that it was being acquired by ride-hailing platform Gett for $200 million. Apparently, in the end, profits took precedence over ethics.
“I had seen Juno as part of the platform cooperativism movement — a recognition that co-ownership matters in the online economy,” said Nathan Schneider, a journalist and a scholar-in-residence of media studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “It was part of the Internet of Ownership directory, at least until this buyout was announced.”
Drivers had no say in the matter, despite their supposed stake in the company, and have seen little of that $200 million. In fact, drivers are being given paltry allowances for their shares. Juno’s acquisition shows that for drivers and workers to be a genuine part of the gig economy, there needs to be meaningful action to share ownership and decision-making from the get-go — and a platform cooperative or nonprofit model is one way to ensure that.