On Monday, Seattle-based software startup Solo announced that it raised $5.3 million in a seed funding round. Slow Ventures led the round, with participation from Expa, Red Sea, Fuse, Ascend, Kindergarten and various angel investors.
The gig economy has shaped the lives of many people, with apps like Uber, DoorDash, Instacart and others allowing people to make money on the side and work the hours they want. But with this extra flexibility and freedom, many of these workers are left without support — working longer or harder hours to benefit the tech companies that created these apps. On top of that, the amount of money gig workers can make per hour is extremely volatile.
Solo was founded in 2020 to help the millions of gig workers in the U.S. generate income more reliably. The company has created a platform that uses aggregated data and community insights to suggest ways for gig workers to maximize their income — whether that’s working certain hours or switching between different gig economy apps (Solo works with Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart and more). The company platform also gives gig workers tools to manage their income by setting goals, checking to see what other gig workers are making in their city, tracking income across their apps and more.
“Solo maximizes my potential as a driver by providing data on earnings, rush hours and which platforms are performing best. I’ve added new jobs using their pay predictions and am now earning 30 percent more per hour, guaranteed,” Devin Jansa, a gig worker who uses several on-demand apps, said in a statement.
Right now Solo is only available for gig workers in Seattle, but the company is planning to use the new funding to invest in its go-to-market strategy, as well as investing in product development.
Until the company expands its presence, it’s important that it’s already supporting gig workers in Seattle. Seattle has been one of the cities leading the charge in supporting gig workers, with the passage of new regulations concerning premium pay and paid sick and safe time for gig workers. These laws protect the rights of gig workers, and various lawsuits have already been brought to court when companies have been found in violation of those laws.
“While the gig economy has provided flexible work for millions of people, the jobs come with minimal security and stability,” Solo CEO and co-founder Bryce Bennett said in a statement. “We’re excited to put better data and tools in the hands of drivers, shoppers, couriers and others so they can maintain their flexibility, while also knowing when, where, and what job to work.”