Recently, senior RSG contributor Sergio Avedian attended Curbivore 2023, the preeminent conference for discussing commerce at the curb, last mile delivery, public policy, and more. In the following recap, Sergio shares what he learned about commerce and gig work, including companies that hire gig workers, ones that make it easier for us to operate at gig workers, and more. Click to read Sergio’s previous installment about Curbivore and transportation companies.
One often overlooked segment in the gig economy is the gig workers themselves, but one conference that certainly does not overlook the gig worker is Curbivore. At Curbivore 2023, I was able to talk to several gig worker-focused companies, including last mile delivery companies, apps, and more. While some of the attendees you and I may already be familiar with, some were new even to me!
You can find a full list of Curbivore sponsors and attendees here, and I’ll highlight the ones I found most impressive below.
UberEats became a household name during the pandemic, and according to Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, it is still growing at a healthy pace. They are also pushing into new verticals delivering anything and everything to the consumer’s door. One of these fast growth areas is Shop & Pay orders for their shoppers.
I spoke with Uber’s Head of Grocery and Retail Fulfillment Product David Meers at length during Curbivore. He was very excited about the new features that Uber rolled out to streamline the shopper experience, including electronic payment for the goods via Apple/Google Pay. There were a couple of more enhancements to the app which you can discover on the RSG Youtube channel.
Everee is committed to giving workers what they earn as they earn it. Pay is personal. People count on their pay to support their families, fund their dreams and live their best lives. And yet, most people have to wait weeks to get paid.
Everee empowers people to get paid when they earn it and they do it without creating operational headaches or cash flow issues for their employers. Their motto is “Because it’s the 21st century, let’s stop paying people like we did in 1950.”
Everee’s aha moment came when a concerned parent was helping out his daughter. She had just left home to go to college and earned enough to cover her expenses, but she kept running out of money because the timing of her payday and bills didn’t match. He did some digging and realized what a huge problem this was for so many Americans. He wanted to challenge the status quo and change the way people are paid while also improving the payroll experience for companies, so he started Everee.
Stoovo is not just a smart navigation app for all gig workers. On all delivery platforms, we have three main players in the gig economy: the platforms, the requester, and the supplier. The problem is that the worker, or the supplier, is left completely alone, because the platform is optimizing to meet the demand of the requester. Stoovo would like to shift that optimization to help workers maximize their income for each hour worked.
According to CEO Hantz Fevry, Stoovo wants to give gig workers financial stability through income boosting and income smoothing. He also added that without Stoovo, workers are on their own trying to figure out if their time is better spent on DoorDash or Uber Eats or Grubhub. Stoovo realizes that if gig workers only follow the direction of those platforms, the workers may not make enough money.
The average gig worker uses three platforms, and shuffles arbitrarily between them, or relies on word of mouth, which is not really optimal. Stoovo tells gig workers which platform is best for them at any given time, and when to take a break. Stoovo even goes further to help with financial management.
Beans AI is a location intelligence company that creates hyper-accurate geospatial data. They built multiple products and custom APIs that navigate end-users to within 10 feet of secondary addresses, including those found within apartment complexes, college campuses, mobile parks, hospitals, etc.
Beans AI currently serves more than 200,000 transportation and delivery services nationwide, including UberEats, FedEx Ground, OnTrac, Instacart, and more, and power over one million deliveries a day. Their data is also used to improve operations for government and public safety agencies, telecom providers, and real estate professionals.
Para is a tech company focused on making gig work prosperous and sustainable. They build tools that put gig workers in charge of their work – the gig economy only works if they work. Their technology offers drivers a safer way to drive, critical trip details to make informed decisions, and visibility to all available gig work opportunities. This way gig workers can choose the best work to suit their goals. At Para, they call this a “personal dispatch system” for each worker.
I spoke to CEO David Pickerell in length during Curbivore and had him on my livestream/podcast a couple of months ago. Since then they have added many features to the app and it is definitely an app that should be carefully looked at if not tried by every gig worker.
Spark is an on demand delivery app for mostly Walmart customers. On the Spark Driver app, you can shop or deliver for customers of Walmart and other businesses. All you need to get started is a car and a smartphone.
What’s in it for the gig worker? With the Spark Driver app, you earn how you want, when you want. With the Spark Driver app, earning is easy and there are so many ways to earn! As an independent contractor, you get to control the types of orders you accept, where and when you shop or drive, and how many trips you make.
There were so many more amazing supporters of Cubivore that deserve a mention, the long list can be found here. Please, take a moment to visit their websites!
Curbivore 2023 was a huge success; we will see you next year for Curbivore 2024!
Special mention goes to CEO Benson Tsai of Stellar Pizza, who kept feeding the Curbivore crowd great pizza. I had the pleasure of chatting with him and concluded that delicious pizza fully made by robots is here to stay. As a tough critic, I had my share of slices hot off the oven and I must say Benson has a winner here. You can find their automated pizza truck around the USC campus.
Stellar Pizza came ready to feed a crowd of over 750 people and they hit it out of the park!
What companies or products would you like to see at Curbivore next year?
-Sergio @ RSG