By Michael Teich
Silicon Valley is in a race to develop tech that will hook the 60 million American gig economy workers.
Wonolo, a platform connecting on-demand workers with employers, now has an extra $32 million in funding to help win over the on-demand workforce. The company's co-founder and COO, AJ Brustein, told Cheddar in an interview that Wonolo's emphasis on blue-collar employees sets it apart from competitors like Uber, which announced last month it will develop its own on-demand staffing business called Uber Works.
"It's great that Uber is looking at this space. It really validates the opportunity here and shows the way work is getting matched today with traditional staff companies isn't the right way."
But Brustein doesn't consider Uber a competitor, because he says the ride-hailing company is targeting a different kind of worker.
Uber is focusing on restaurants and hospitality, while Wonolo is focused on lighter contract work ー hourly, blue-collar, warehouse-type gigs, he said.
The latest round of funding, led by Bain Venture Capital's Jamison Hill, puts Wonolo's total funding to $60 million. Brustein said the company's business model appeals to investors because Wonolo offers its workers freedom, something he said is hard to find in more traditional jobs.
"Unemployment continues to go down, but people are looking for jobs that offer something that companies aren't providing today, which is flexibility," he said.