The chaos and uncertainty that has become the baseline of everyday life has brought many people to the same conclusion: a desire for flexibility and control of their working lives.

Technical innovation has followed this preference. From the must-have tools that enabled the pandemic-induced shift to remote work; to the wave of advanced productivity, collaboration, and other technology products that have made hybrid office models and distributed teams the new default; to the much-needed evolution in attitudes and expectations of work-life balance, today’s working environment is arguably more functional than in the past.

While this level of innovation hasn’t historically been focused on the more than half of the American workforce that is paid hourly – and often at jobs that must be done in person, such as those in the hospitality industry or healthcare – that, too, is changing.

“Being on the front lines for so long, especially the past few years, has given hourly workers the opportunity to now advocate for themselves and decide what’s best for them and their families, says Instawork CEO and co-founder Sumir Meghani, whose company provides an online marketplace connecting local businesses with talent. “ I think flexibility is a permanent change that’s happening before our very eyes.”

Instawork, which was founded in 2016, has witnessed this shift firsthand. From the outset, the platform was a welcome change for employers and talent who relied on word of mouth, window signs, or job boards to find one another. The company has become an increasingly necessary partner both to businesses that struggle to find high-quality talent in today’s extraordinarily tight labor market, and to professionals who want more autonomy and freedom with their work schedule.

The company also has a valuable vantage point into the changing dynamics of the labor market. Although millions of people now find employment on an hourly basis via apps, they aren’t counted in the Labor Department’s standard data-gathering efforts. So Instawork is filling in that gap: in January, the company launched an economic research division, and is finding there is much more to the narrative about today’s workers – and the overall economy – than what is known from observing payrolls.

Greylock general partner David Thacker, who led the firm’s investment in Instawork’s Series C round, recently sat down with Sumir on the Greymatter podcast to discuss the new world of hourly work. This episode if part of our Work From Anywhere series exploring the future of work. You can listen to the interview on our YouTube channel here, or at the link below.


David Thacker:
Sumir, welcome to Greymatter. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Sumir Meghani:
Thank you. It’s great to be here.

All right. Well, let’s get started. Let’s hear about Instawork. Can you give us a high level description of the company and tell us where the company has a presence today?

Yeah, so Instawork is a flexible work platform. We connect local businesses who need staffing with over one and a half million hourly workers around the country. And so, for example, if a hotel or restaurant needs an extra bartender for the weekend or a warehouse needs to scale up to deal with a big order coming in, they can tap into our marketplace.

Skilled hourly workers – or professionals as we call them, the businesses we call partners. They pay us and we pay the professionals instantly after the shift is over. Instawork is live in 25 markets today, and that number is growing every month. Internally, we’ve got a growing global team across seven countries.

I want to emphasize growing, David, we’re hiring in every function. I just want to highlight that we’re all really excited to be part of this vision to create economic opportunity for local businesses and professionals globally.

Great. Now, you and your co-founder started Instawork in 2016; I think you went through Y Combinator. At that time, the gig economy had been on an upward trend for a few years. Why did you decide to launch a company then? I mean, what made it the right time to launch? Where did you see your entry point?

I grew up near Detroit. As you know, David, my parents were small business owners. They had immigrated here from India. I have vivid memories, whenever they have a surge of orders or someone not showing up, I get this phone call to come over to the office. And so, the earliest memories I had from the start of my career was helping my parents manage through labor shocks, when my mom would come pick me up. And by the time I was in high school, I’d have a car, and they would tell me to come on over.

If you fast forward to our experience working together at Groupon, David… We’re going to date ourselves here, so for those listeners who don’t remember Groupon, Groupon created marketing campaigns to help a lot of small businesses like restaurants get new customers and fill empty seats. I still remember sitting in the dining room of an Italian restaurant here in San Francisco in North Beach with my team when I was at Groupon, and we’re meeting the owner. We were pitching her on running a Groupon. The restaurant was maybe one third full, 100 empty seats. David, I remember, our team pulled out this ROI analysis on why the owner should want a Groupon. There were empty tables. This seemed like a no-brainer. We had examples already of similar businesses nearby that had succeeded with us.

She stopped us 30 seconds in, and we were confused. “What did we say? What did we do? Why won’t you let us sell you on this?” And she pointed to a sign on the window, and the sign read “Nosotras necesitamos lavaplatos,” which in Spanish translates to, “We need dishwashers.”

It struck me: Here is a business that couldn’t handle more customers because it lacked the basic infrastructure any business needs – quality talent. And quality talent is as important to Greylock or Instawork or any other business that wants to be successful. This owner, she didn’t need more customers, she needed more staff to handle the customers she was already getting.

At that moment and over the coming weeks and months, I reflected on that problem and realized the labor market for hourly workers was quite broken. The mechanism to find hourly workers or to get a relevant job were basically a sign on the window, word of mouth, a job board, maybe a staffing agency if you’re big enough.

With all of these solutions that I just mentioned, there are a lot of challenges of high search costs, distributed quality signals about both sides that didn’t exist online, and most of all, lack of a good mobile-first interface, which was increasing what both sides were using in their lives at that moment.

Yeah, no, that’s really interesting. I mean, we see this with all types of businesses. I can certainly see a small business like a restaurant, but even a Silicon Valley startup, they can’t grow their business faster because they just can’t find the right talent, right? There’s such a scarcity of talent for any type of skilled professional job.

Let’s talk about other platforms you may have looked at as you went off and started the business. I mean, there’s been some innovation in this space for the last few decades. Were there things that, in terms of hiring platforms, that inspired you, that you thought had done a good job? And also, are there things that showed you what not to do?

Well, there are certainly several companies or movements that have inspired us along the way.

First, we’re not the original company to evangelize flexible work. I think Upwork and Hayden, they’ve done a fantastic job promoting this. Hayden’s a great CEO. LinkedIn, of course, David, where you were an executive, it invented this notion of building professional identities online, which I think is super powerful and really drives a lot of our product thinking.

Finally, years ago, I remember Matt Kohler spoke about this idea of the mobile phone being the remote control for our lives. It really couldn’t be more true. We’re seeing that today. We use our phones for everything. We spent a lot of time thinking about why we can’t leverage that remote control, that technology to help people find work, make extra money. Some of the most popular apps we use today use technology to solve the challenges I mentioned earlier. Uber is lowering search costs by matching you with a car at the touch of a button. You don’t need to wait outside to hail a cab, and drivers don’t need to drive around aimlessly waiting for their next pickup. Everyone is better off because of easier onboarding, better matching. The smartphone really makes this easier.

With a lot of these platforms and marketplaces, especially where supply is more heterogeneous versus homogeneous, quality is very critical so you can make the liquidity high fidelity, high quality. So, that really inspired us at Instawork to assess and develop our talent pool of pros around quality.

We collect dozens of data points around our pros. [This includes] areas like skills and certifications and attitude, reliability, job performance, and more, and then our team of data scientists and engineers use this data to improve the quality of their skills by identifying training opportunities for them that’ll help them increase their earning potential and get access to more work opportunities.

Every Instawork pro is making a profile of record where they can add their experience and their qualifications. And today, all of these signals are really scattered, offline, across many sources. And so our pros, their profiles get stronger, they pick up new skills, complete training, build their reputation, and grow their network. And then this also helps them separate signal from noise as they look for new roles and opportunities on Instawork that may be a good fit for them.

Yeah. I can see how the pros on your platform could build a really rich profile which would help them find other relevant opportunities in the future.

There’s been systems in place for job seekers for a long time. I mean, there’s been online job boards that have been targeted at hourly workers, but Instawork really changed the game for the hourly workforce, and you’ve streamlined the process of finding work opportunities that leverage these skills and experience on the profile you’re building. And it’s so critical to have a great product experience that’s intuitive and easy to use for these job seekers. How did you approach building a platform that was attractive and easy to use from both a business and a worker perspective?

Yeah, one of the big lessons from the early days, in Y Combinator especially, is to spend a lot of time with users and doing customer development, and so we did a lot of that. After reflecting on our early journey and the conversations we would have with partners and pros regularly, it came down to really three things that matter to both sides: quality, reliability, and convenience. And these three tenets really became our value proposition for how we craft great products at Instawork in how we solve problems.

Let’s take local businesses, for example. What do they want when they’re looking for stunning colleagues, David? They want great workers who can actually do the job at hand, they’ve got the right skills, the right attitude, the right expectations. They want colleagues who show up on time, and they want a system that’s really easy to use, it’s very convenient. And so, it’s really about quality, reliability, and convenience.

I’ll jump to the pro side, the workers. We give them the quality and flexibility that they’re looking for. We did a recent survey, and 90% of our pros said flexibility was the single most important reason they’re using Instawork to find work.

The app is really high quality for them as well because they know exactly what they’re going to make, what the job responsibilities are. When they accept a shift, there’s no smoke and mirrors around how much money you’re going to make, and the wages are significantly higher than alternatives.

And so, when it came time to think about how we solve our users’ problems, our first principles approach was really just rooted in fundamental roots that we believed would never change.

“To this day, we orient the vast majority of our product and operational energy towards investments to improve quality, reliability, and convenience.”

I think the other big insight and differentiator over time has been, again, in how we leverage mobile. The system we’ve built for matching pros with available shifts, it’s really fast. We can dispatch shifts to our large pool of quality pros and match them, and within 24 hours, the majority of our shifts get booked and get picked up. Previously, if a business was using a physical staffing agency or a job board, you might have to wait days or even weeks to get these shifts filled. On the pro side, you can literally download our Instawork app, you can pick up a shift the next day and get paid immediately. And that’s really powerful, David.

We see all sorts of cool use cases emerging that we didn’t even envision before, like friends and teams getting together to go work a shift together, this idea of a professional network, right, that comes together for a football game, for example, on a Sunday, or people who lose their jobs and need to make rent but they decide not to apply for unemployment. They just use Instawork to immediately get to work the next day.

We share these types of pro stories at our all-hands all the time, and it continues to get me and our whole team excited about the impact we’re having for our pros especially, and the communities that they’re a part of.

Yeah. I think this is really a powerful new way of working for the pros and for the businesses, how they approach staffing their open roles.

I also like your approach on first principles here. I mean, I think going back to basically the beginning of capitalism, businesses have always cared about the quality and reliability of their employees, and workers have always cared about having more flexibility and having higher wages, and more choice on where they work. So these are fundamental truths and you’ve really oriented the company around those things.

Now, at its core, Instawork is really a marketplace business, and you’ve got quite a bit of experience building up consumer products and marketplaces. You were at Groupon, which was a really big local marketplace for nearly five years, and you worked at Yahoo before that. How do you approach building a two-sided marketplace of Instawork? I mean, it’s really hard oftentimes for entrepreneurs to bootstrap the early days of a marketplace. Tell us how you went about that.

Well, I think the best way to build any two-sided marketplace is to start and manufacture liquidity yourself. Before my co-founder and I wrote any code, we decided to go deep with our users and just match them ourselves manually, like literally being a staffing agency. It’s the best advice that I give to any marketplace owner that asks. This approach really forces you to dig deep and understand the pain points of your user and make sure you can solve the problems that they have. Because technology can always help you scale and do things more efficiently, but it won’t create product market fit on its own.

In our case, it was simple: We need to get businesses and workers. We started in San Francisco, and we had a handful of hospitality professionals we’d gotten to know through some early market research. We made digital identities for them, David, sort of, actually, like a LinkedIn profile. We made these profiles that listed their work experience, what their references had to say about them, their photos, their skill sets, all that type of stuff.

The next thing we did was we identified restaurants that were a very specific customer segment we had targeted. We found restaurants who were looking for people like these workers. My co-founder and I literally started driving door to door, and we would print out and leave a physical stack of these profiles under the door with the cover note that I would sign. We would ask the GM or chef to call us if they wanted to interview anybody on this list. So we’re literally nothing digital, it was all physical paper we would print and leave under these doors.

I think the response rate for these first cohorts was like 50%. And actually, some of the days I remembered it raining and our paper packets got drenched. So the true conversion rate may have actually been higher.

But we really knew we were onto something then, if we were able to get chefs and GMs to respond to these physical pieces of paper that looked like basically a beautiful resume. We basically started creating the first version of liquidity. And word of mouth really started kicking in on both sides then. People would tell each other on both sides or businesses would tell workers, workers would tell businesses, and that’s when growth really accelerated.

I mean, 50% is pretty astonishing for a response rate. I think it’s a good lesson for other founders that may be listening. So many founders, especially in Silicon Valley, just want to start building technology and products before really validating the customer pain points and whether it’s a fit for their solution. I’ve seen companies spend a year building, throw something out there, and it just doesn’t really get product market fit, because they didn’t really fully understand the problem. So it’s great that you went through that approach to validate this before you started building.

Let’s go back to your partner businesses. Many of these businesses, they’re small businesses, they’re slow to adopt new technology for a variety of different reasons. Oftentimes, the owners of these businesses are just super busy. Oftentimes they’re not very technology savvy, right? Sometimes they have very strict budgets, they’re on very thin margins. So what were the first few years like in terms of attracting customers?

The great news with our business model is that you only pay when there’s a successful match. A business pays us when a qualified pro shows up and does a great job. So, our interests are really aligned. We don’t require them to pay upfront to post an ad, like a job board, or they don’t have to install any physical hardware, or there’s not a contract they’ve got to sign.

And then, David, we were really fortunate to launch Instawork several years after many companies had already been built socializing a variety of businesses, especially small businesses, to the power of technology. I’m really grateful because I think we were able to stand a little bit on their shoulders. You think about Groupon, which I mentioned earlier, where you and I worked, Gusto and what they’ve done around payroll, OpenTable with reservations, Toast as a point of sale system.

And then finally, I think maybe one of the lessons in terms of attracting customers, with our go-to market, we tried really hard not to boil the ocean from the onset. Most of our history, we’ve only really been in a single market (the Bay Area), and it was only a couple of years ago we started expanding really, really fast. We resisted every temptation to expand and chase greenfields. And the good thing about this approach is when you’re focused, you get really good at building a base of promoters, get network effects, and then word of mouth really kicks in, as I mentioned earlier, because your go-to market energy can really be deployed in a dense way.

And David, I’m sure you know and you’ve seen great examples: the quality of referrals, the quality of word of mouth acquisition is way higher than any other form of customer acquisition. And so, as we got big enough in San Francisco, what started happening was that we just started getting pulled into new cities, both by partners, the businesses on Instawork and pros, and that just meant the lift to launch new markets got lower and lower over time. And so, customer acquisition on both sides just became easier. Today, we’re seeing more demand from new users on both sides in markets that we haven’t even launched, which makes it such an exciting time to invest in the business and to accelerate our growth.

Yeah, that’s a really powerful flywheel effect.

I think there’s a temptation sometimes companies get focused on top-line growth. They try to go to as many markets as possible before really perfecting the model in one or two markets, core markets, and you really did that and saw it working, and it made it much easier to launch each additional market. I know, we’ve talked about before, you’ll have pros sign up in markets you’re not in yet. So when you first go into a market and you sign up the first businesses, you immediately have skilled professionals on the platform that are ready to work.

And this is something in effect we’ve seen with other past Greylock portfolio companies like LinkedIn and Airbnb where your users and customers are pulling you into new additional markets, which just makes it much easier to launch each additional market.

Let’s go back to something we talked about a bit before but just the vertical focus of the company. You started out as very focused. I mean, I think you initially focused on the hospitality industry, but ironically, that’s the industry that probably got hit the hardest in the early days of the pandemic. Now, of course, every hospitality business, as we’re reopening, is scrambling to try to find workers. And so, many of them are turning to you in droves. But I would love to hear the story of how you adapted to uncertain conditions in the market. How did you redirect your focus to other areas where Instawork could be useful?

Well, I have to begin by first recognizing my colleagues who were here in 2020. There was so much disruption and uncertainty in the world and in our professional and personal lives at the time. And I’m incredibly grateful to all of them for sticking with this and making Instawork a better company as we emerged from the pandemic.

So, when COVID hit, many businesses who used Instawork were affected differently. David, as you mentioned, hospitality was one area where hotels and restaurants and event venues didn’t need labor because they effectively shut down because of shelter-in-place orders. But we noticed specific customer segments were actually using us more than ever. As you can imagine, businesses participating in e-commerce and [parts of the] supply chain saw an incredible demand for their services.

On the pro side, we looked at the profiles of all the workers on Instawork, and we noticed many of them had actually worked across many different types of industries and had a wide variety of skills.

And so, we started looking for certain customer segments or profiles and users on both sides that were a good fit for the way the world was evolving that year. I vividly remember a board meeting in May 2020 where one of our board members told me, “Sumir, you used to go hunt deer, but the deer have left the forest for now, and you have to go hunt rabbit instead.” David, now as you know, I’m vegetarian, but that analogy has really stuck with me in the last couple years.

And so, Mike, who’s our VP of Sales, he and I got a lot of our operations sales team together at the time, it was seven or eight of us, Aaron, Matt, Geraldine, Chris, Christian Jenna, Richard, the Dans. We said, “Look, team, we’ve got to go hunt rabbit.” They all looked at me if I was like a crazy person, what was I talking about? And I paused, we shared some of the data, the insights we were seeing, and that team responded enthusiastically and got it done.

And then on the product and engineering side, we got our team together, which at the time the team was split between the US and India, and we said, “Let’s go automate and keep building to the future we want so that when the next round of scaling hits, and it will hit, we will be even stronger.” And going back to our value proposition, it was extremely helpful and grounding to stay rooted to quality, reliability, convenience, to keep us all aligned internally even as the world changed externally.

It’s remarkable how you all adapted so quickly to these changing market conditions. We’ve always seen that one of the traits of our best startups and leadership teams, is that ability to be responsive and nimble. I love the saying about hunting deer and rabbit. Although since you’re a vegetarian, perhaps they should have said, “Can’t hunt deer anymore, you’ve got to go off and forage for mushrooms or something.”

I like that.

Let’s fast forward to today, and now you’re in a period of explosive growth and support. You raised a Series C funding a few months ago, and you have several new board members. Walk us through the business.

Yeah, well, first, we’re thrilled to welcome Craft joining us on this journey, Craft Ventures actually led our Series C. Jeff Fluhr is an entrepreneur himself, founded StubHub, and David Sachs, another founder, and they’ve been great. And David, it’s a treat to have you and Greylock involved. Obviously, I’ve known you for a long time, and Greylock’s been involved in many networks of all kinds.

So, we’ve crossed one and a half million pros across our network. We’ve been adding hundreds of thousands of new pros just ahead of the holidays, so it’s been an explosive time. In terms of the business, we’re just seeing a huge increase in the demand for flexible work from both sides of the marketplace. Businesses are leaning into the model more than ever, and pros are raising their hand and saying, “This is how I want to work.” We’re so grateful to be in a position where we can help create more employment in the world.

Something else that’s really interesting about Instawork’s platform is that you’ve become this huge repository of data about hourly workers. You recently announced that you’re launching a research division within the company. What have you learned, and what do you hope to learn more about?

Well, that’s right, David. We’ve barely tapped into the wealth of data we’ve accumulated, and the next set of big product investments in Instawork will require unlocking our data with data science, machine learning, engineering, econometrics, and more.

First, as you mentioned, I’m thrilled we have Daniel Altman here. He’s our first chief economist, and he’s going to publish some of our data regularly. I encourage anyone who’s interested to sign up for his economic research newsletter that his team’s going to be publishing. We have a link to it on our blog. We’re also excited to have launched the division. Its goal is to provide insights into the hourly workforce and how flexible work is impacting local businesses.

Now, regarding the data, I’ll talk about it from a macro perspective and then maybe at the micro level.

“We’re gaining a lot of insight into the hourly workforce. They make up about more than half of the American workforce, and they’re often overlooked when we look at analyses around the macro economy and the future of work.”

So a couple of examples of things that we’ve been talking about lately based on our data: what’s the impact Omicron had on job fulfillment by individual markets? We’re collecting a lot of data on market clearing wage rates, David, because we have real time data on what businesses are willing to pay and what pros are willing to accept.

On the micro side and more at the individual pro level, we’re thinking about what we can do with data about individuals to help them get more value from Instawork. So, if David is a great bartender who shows up on time and works often on Instawork and has built his profile, his reputation, what financial services can we offer him, especially if he’s underbanked or doesn’t have a credit score? What are training opportunities or programs we can offer to him to help him get access to more work on Instawork. And so I think that’s interesting as well.

Lastly, some of the most valuable insights that we’ve been seeing have actually been qualitative trends or data around how people’s lifestyles and habits have shifted during the pandemic. For example, we have pros living the nomadic van life, traveling all over the country and picking up shifts in different cities. Anyone who’s seen the movie Nomadland might appreciate this. We have single parents who are using Instawork to create flexible work schedules around their kids’ needs, doctor’s appointments, and soccer games, et cetera. We have all these interesting people from different backgrounds, different ethnicities and races and socioeconomic statuses, and the one thing that connects them all, David, is their desire for flexible work, and they love Instawork.

We’ve seen this at a few other Greylock portfolio companies. I’m thinking of LinkedIn, Redfin have also launched economic research teams. Because when you have really powerful, real time data at your scale and growing, and oftentimes your data’s going to be more accurate and timely than what you’d see coming out of a traditional government bureau or reporting agency or a third party that are trying to track some of these trends. So we look forward to signing up and getting the research reports.

Now, you’ve grown significantly in the past year, both in terms of customers as well as your internal team. As we all know, it’s a tough time to be hiring across every industry, and when you’re in a growth period, it’s crucial to hire the right people who can lead your teams. How do you find great leaders for your various teams?

First, we look for people who are in alignment with our value. Our four values are: act like an owner, always be learning, bias for action, and the last one is empathy, trust, and candor.

Next, I think people get really excited about our vision, which is to create economic opportunities across local communities. That helps us in two ways.

First of all, our network has been instrumental. Colleagues are excited about the impact we’re having, and they want to share it with their network. They bring former colleagues and friends whenever there’s a role that has a fit. We actually recruited an independent board member this way, Jodee Kozlak, who’s fantastic. She was an executive at Target and Alibaba for many years. We’re so happy to have Jodee here. That was all sourced through the company network.

But also, David, many folks in tech want to make an impact, right? They want to make a broad impact on the world. They came into tech for that reason. We really think being at Instawork is their chance. We’re actually creating more employment in the world, which is only a good thing.

David, you and I, and most people that work in tech, we’re relatively comfortable. We’ve gotten to work from home when there was a pandemic lockdown for example. We’re not worried about our next paycheck. Tech sometimes gets criticized in the media about creating A lopsided economy and an economy that works to make privileged folks more privileged and disenfranchise those without privilege and changing the concentration of wealth further away from those who have worked the hardest and put their lives on the line the last few years for the rest of us.

I think there’s a lot of people in tech who will listen to this podcast who may be frustrated that they’re not having the impact that they intended. Our team is made up of incredibly talented colleagues coming from incredibly successful companies who are all aligned in one thing: that they want to create economic opportunity for the businesses and professionals on Instawork, really create economic freedom. And they wake up every day knowing that what they do has a tremendous impact. If you know at Instawork, the code you write, the Figma design you’re shipping, the cold call you’re making to a business, it can be the difference between someone making rent this month or making a payment for childcare or paying a hospital bill or having a holiday present ready for a family member. I think it’s really powerful.

Also, our biggest partners are many of the same brands we use as customers [for example] venues where we go to watch sporting events with our friends and family, companies we’re ordering from online. It’s always fun to see people’s reaction because they don’t realize how much labor is needed to produce the goods and services we consume every day.

The growth’s been tremendous. We’re over 300 colleagues now across multiple countries, seven countries all over the world. Our leadership team and companies being recognized by Built In. We were recently recognized as the top place to work. And so excited to continue growing the team with stunning colleagues who are really aligned with our values and our vision.

Yeah, it’s a really inspiring vision. I think with talent I talk to these days – especially people looking to own their startups – they really care so much about what’s the mission in the company they’re going to, right, and it’s actually going to make a difference, and they want to identify with that. So it’s great to hear all that.

One last question, Sumir. I mean, so coming out of the pandemic, are you going to be a fully remote company? Can you hire talent pretty much anywhere?

We are going to offer flexibility, which is actually the same thing that our pros want. And so, I think that the vast majority of our colleagues crave in-person interaction, David, so the way we’ve had it set up is we’ve got about a dozen hubs around the world, a bunch here in the US and then Bangalore, Singapore, Sydney. We’d like to encourage colleagues to come to the office a couple days a week. We’re going to probably kick that off in the next quarter, but also give people the flexibility for the rest of the week to work from home or come to the office. But we’d like people to come in a couple days a week. But, of course, if we meet great candidates who aren’t located near a hub or for a variety of reasons don’t want to come in, we’re going to accommodate them as well.

Great, great, so you’ll be in a hybrid model.

Okay. Well, my last question for you, I wanted to get your thoughts on the future of work. I mean, you’re immersed in this, you have been for many years, and you’re on the bleeding edge, how do you think the way we work is forever changed and will continue to be so? Where do you see the labor markets going, and how will Instawork play a role in this?

Well, the one thing that I can talk about that we’re seeing right now happening before our very eyes is flexibility. Everybody wants flexibility. Over half of the American workforce is paid hourly, but that community hasn’t been included in national conversations about the future of work. We’re helping give flexibility at Instawork to those who don’t have the luxury to just work from home, and in fact, give them and our business partners more freedom to self-organize and ultimately create more employment in the world. And so I think we’re going to play a really, really important role in driving flexibility.

Now is the right time. The pandemic really gave all of us the opportunity to assess what we want out of our lives, our work lives, our personal lives, to balance between the two. If there’s a silver lining out of all of this it’s that hourly workers want to build work schedules that provide them with balance and increased income opportunities not very different from the rest of us. Being on the front lines for so long, especially the past few years, it’s given them the opportunity now to advocate for themselves and decide what’s best for them and their families. So I think flexibility is a permanent change that’s happening before our very eyes.

I think the other thing that we’re seeing (and excited to participate in) is this idea of reputation, which here means where workers or any types of professionals can store digitally their skills and their aspirations in essential place and use that reputation, use that profile of record as a traverse and advance throughout their career in search of economic opportunity. And so, we’re excited to be part of that as well.

Great, great. Well, thank you very much, Sumir, for joining us today, and congratulations on the success you’ve had to date with scaling Instawork. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and your insights.

My pleasure. Thanks for having us.


David Thacker

Venture Partner

David invests in mission driven founders who are tackling big problems with great product experiences.

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