We’re revolutionizing the way rideshare and delivery drivers use their data.
We are upending the way that data flows in the gig economy. Companies like Uber and DoorDash vacuum up massive amounts of data from their workers and users. Then they use that data to optimize their operations, manage their workforce, and shape the public story about their companies, resulting in an unfair playing field. But what would happen if the people generating that data in the first place – the rideshare and delivery drivers themselves – had the power to capture their own data? What if they had the technological tools to make use of that data? These are the questions we’re answering at Driver’s Seat.
New engineers and data scientists who join the team will have the opportunity to work with large, complex datasets. These include high frequency GPS and telemetry data, workforce data (time, earnings, and activities), and mobility data (e.g. transportation mode, trip purpose). Drivers can choose to upload their data automatically or manually. We then use a suite of analytics tools, including PostgreSQL and R to provide concrete insights for users. For example, how much are rideshare and delivery drivers really earning? When and where is the most productive time to work? Is tipping higher on rides or food deliveries?
We discover valuable patterns in our data and can talk directly to drivers to understand the motivations and behaviors behind them. In turn, this also helps city agencies, who can leverage the data to make better decisions about transportation planning. We’re accessing massive amounts of interesting data and are only at the tip of the iceberg.
Engages with Community
Driver’s Seat is a cooperative.
Our community is rideshare and delivery drivers, first and foremost, which is why we formed our company as a cooperative. In addition to having a built-in community from day one, it also fosters transparency and trust. Our drivers always know exactly what’s happening with their data and have real ownership over it. They elect a majority of our board seats, vote on major co-op decisions, and are eligible for a share of our profits.
Whether it’s chatting online or in person, we’re in constant communication with our drivers. These conversations help us keep a pulse on what our users/members truly need, so we can make sure we’re building the best product possible. For example, in speaking to hundreds of drivers, we learned that there are multiple ways they think about cost/benefit analyses. Some drivers care most about maximizing $/hr while others prioritize $/mile or even “time until I hit my daily goal.” Thus, in addition to showing “Real Pay” on our platform, we are also building out those unique metrics so drivers can have personalized insights that benefit them the most.
Our community also extends to organized groups of drivers. Through partnerships, we’re enabling these groups to pool information with each other so they can analyze even more data points. This is especially helpful for understanding how new regulatory changes or shifts in the market affect their work. It also allows them to share their stores and advocate for themselves, with the data to back it up.
As a cooperative, we’re in a unique position to cultivate a diverse user base to shape our direction. In the next year, we plan to expand our community by creating spaces for drivers to look at shared data together, discuss their experiences, and work together to improve how the gig economy works in their markets. This means building member-to-member communication channels and forums as well as creating tools to make it easier for drivers to recruit one another to join our co-op. The more our community grows, the greater our shared dataset is, which in turn makes community membership even more valuable. It’s a win-win on all sides!
We decide on our approach together, then divide labor based on strengths and roles.
As a remote team, we actively avoid silos and understand the need for proactive, thoughtful, and clear communication. Our culture is extremely collaborative and interdisciplinary, so we look for people who can give and receive feedback in an effective, considerate manner.
New ideas and problems are first discussed in our weekly or monthly strategy syncs, which we do via Google Meet. We keep meeting time intentional and place a premium on asynchronous communication (we’re active users of Asana). That said, we don’t hesitate to jump on the phone or message one another as needed for quick turnarounds. Everyone on the team is free (and encouraged!) to bring ideas and opinions to the table.
Every month we have team and individual check-ins. These are both to discuss strategy, but also to ask, “How’s it going?” and garner honest feedback about what we can improve and what’s working well in terms of our product, processes, and team dynamics. We want team members to feel safe to make mistakes along the way and have space to seek support, whether it’s technical or personal. Ultimately, consistent and high-quality communication is the key to moving fast and moving well.
Our product has inherent value to drivers and sells itself.
Our product work faces in two directions. First, it’s a mobile app and website that serves ridehail (Uber, Lyft) and delivery (DoorDash, Instacart, etc.) drivers. Drivers use the product to collect and track information about their work and to access the personalized insights we generate, which help them make more money in less time. Second, it’s an analytics product that serves transportation planners, regulators, and policymakers who are trying to shape the future of gig-based new mobility modes (rideshare and delivery). For example, food delivery exploded during the pandemic, and now many cities want to understand the impact it’s had on street traffic and businesses. The data we aggregate helps them answer those kinds of questions, and in turn, allows us to return dividends back to co-op members.
Today, thousands of drivers find intrinsic value in using our platform. “Professionals,” “part-timers,” rideshare, grocery, and restaurant delivery workers are all connecting with the need for data and analysis tools they can trust. We started building our product with two full-stack engineers as contractors, and they will continue to work with us as we build out our in-house engineering team and seek product market fit.
As we continue to expand our driver base and the cities we serve, we’re looking for folks who are excited to dive in and wear multiple hats. Whether it’s product, data engineering, data science, DevOps, working as an IC or leading a team, you’ll have the opportunity to jump in where needed and get exposure to multiple parts of the business.
Actively Practices Inclusion
Building a diverse and inclusive team at Driver’s Seat is super important to us. Here’s why:
- It connects us to our users. Rideshare and delivery drivers are an extremely diverse group. While it differs in every city, the majority are generally people of color who were born in another country. Increasingly, there’s more gender diversity as well as a wide variety of life histories and motivations for doing gig work. In order to meet these users’ needs, we must listen carefully to their diverse experiences and understand both their pain points and their expectations as we build our product and business strategy.
- It’s core to our company mission. We’re trying to change power dynamics that harm people of color, women, and working class people in the gig economy. We want to be internally consistent as well – which means recruiting a diverse team, and empowering that team to shape our direction.
- It helps us succeed. Diverse lived experience and identities yield different perspectives that translate into a fuller, better view of how we define and solve business and technical problems.
Currently, our team has a strong diversity of professional backgrounds including public policy, labor and community organizing, geospatial data analytics, software engineering, growth, and sales. Still, we recognize that we are not as diverse by race or gender as we’d like to be. We are committed to recruiting and retention practices designed to change that. In the short term, that means actively seeking networks and channels to get our postings in front of a diverse set of candidates and prioritizing diversity in our hiring criteria.
In the long run, it means dedicated culture and organizational development work. This includes active solicitation of feedback (and action on that feedback!) on internal practices that make Driver’s Seat a good place for women and people of color to work and to lead. At the end of the day, we’re committed to putting the resources (time, attention, and money) into making this a reality.
Creative + Innovative
The very idea of a data co-op is groundbreaking.
That means there’s lots of exciting questions to answer such as:
- Can the users generating data take direct control over it, share it with others, and leverage it in ways that give them immediate, individual benefit?
- Can we change the direction of an entire industry by taking control of the data pipeline?
- Can a tech startup be cooperatively owned by its users and still scale?
While we have deep experience in the space (we’ve worked in technology, public policy, and as community organizers), it’s not a requirement for joining our team. Rather, we seek to hire people who are excited about trying new things and thinking outside the box. For instance, this might be using Elixir to approach large scale data in new ways or coming up with novel methods for soliciting user input in design and development.
There's no one right way to approach what we’re building, but it’s safe to say we’re all bonded by the drive to find creative and new ways of applying startup methodology to social challenges. As a new engineer who joins the team, you’ll have an outsized impact in helping us determine how our architecture and tech stack evolves.
As we are a small team, engineers are involved in the entire lifecycle of a feature.
From ideation and design, through development, release, monitoring, and bug-fixing, engineers work across every part of the stack to implement end-to-end features for our users. You’ll also have the freedom to choose the best tools and frameworks for the job. If you’re interested in working on UI/UX or have ideas about how we can improve our backend or address tech debt, that’s awesome. Whether it’s a project handed to you as a business need or something you’ve noticed yourself, we’re excited for engineers to own technical projects and run with ideas from start to finish. We place a greater emphasis on holistic knowledge and look for generalists over specialists. Let us know if this sounds like you!
We believe in healthy work/life balance and our founders lead by example.
Unlike many early-stage startups, we strive to keep the pace sustainable. Leadership sets a good tone by prioritizing both high-quality work and actually taking time to recharge away from the proverbial office. Currently, we’re a distributed team that covers every time zone in the U.S. and as we grow, we’ll consider exploring co-working when we get to multi-employee density in a given city. That said, we value the flexibility that working remotely allows. We totally understand if you need to pick up your kids from school or get some fresh air and go for a walk in the afternoon. We trust our team members to get their work done while also making time for their personal lives.
While we aim to have four overlapping work hours in a day, people generally set their own hours and are accountable for their own time. It’s important that we’re able to communicate asynchronously, but we’re also happy to hop on a call as needed when things are more complex or time sensitive. We target 40-hour workweeks, so there’s very limited occasions when after hours or weekend responses are expected, and we have special channels for that should the need arise.
All of us have passions, commitments, and hobbies outside of work, and we want you to be able to enjoy yours, too! For instance, Hays is a fan of trying adventurous street foods and loves getting outdoors to kayak, bike, and hike. Jackie is passionate about candle making. For Matt, a perfect work day is one that includes a conversation with a gig worker and a data discovery (plus a little extra time to cross-country ski with his family).
When you join Driver’s Seat Cooperative, you’re joining a tight group of people committed to radically changing the way that technology is used at work and in our communities. And, we’re about having fun and keeping things interesting while we do it.