Uber’s stock started trading on Friday with a market cap exceeding $80b. While Uber is best known for catalyzing the ridesharing industry, it’s catalyzed an equally impactful social revolution – the gig economy.
Gig-economy workers are freelancers, independent contractors, and other variants of temporary workers. Nearly 60m Americans (1 in 3 in the workforce) freelanced in 2017. Uber is potentially the largest gig-economy employer in the world.
The rapid growth of the gig economy has been driven by employers who want to scale more flexibly, as well as workers who want optionality for when and how they work. However, a critical issue with the gig economy is a dearth of benefits and financial services.
Gig economy workers typically are often not provided with retirement savings options, health and disability insurance, or other benefits provided to full-time workers – part of the reason why many drivers went on strike on Wednesday.
Moreover, taxes are not withheld from gig economy worker paymentsleaving it to the individual to track their accounting and save to pay taxes. Benefits and financial services for the gig economy will continue to be a massive and growing opportunity that fintech startups may eventually address.
With Uber now a public company, it's clear it has created a complex ecosystem. And we're not just talking about the strange passengers...
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