Josephine, a food-sharing startup, aims to change the view of Silicone Valley’s gig economy. The economy has not been supportive of its core workers. A prime example of this can be seen with Uber and Lyft, two companies that take a large share of the profits from their drivers.
Josephine’s goal is to offer the cooks that work for the company ownership. The agency wants to be the pinnacle of transparency, too.
Charley Wang, CEO of Josephine, stated “We’ve been thinking a long time about how tech platforms can be less extractive and provide more value to the communities.” Wang further states, “We finally felt like we were at a good place where we could make meaningful stakes in trying to be an ethical employer and non-extractive platform.”
The company will give 20% of the company to the cooks in the company through stock options. Stock will be distributed to cooks based on how long they have worked for the company and how many meals they’ve served.
Cook Council will be formed within the company, too. The council will meet with the company’s leadership and will operate on a rotating group of cooks so that all cooks have their voices heard. The council will be able to provide feedback to the company’s management. The council will have one member placed on Josephine’s board of directors.
The above changes will occur in January 2017.
Josephine’s good faith may not be enough for cooks in certain cities. The company had to halt their operations in Oakland earlier this year, as cease and desist letters were sent to some cooks. It’s illegal in the city to sell food that is homemade unless they’re non-potentially hazardous foods.
The company states that they reach out to the local governments before operating in the cities in an effort to ensure they operate legally.
The company announced $2.5 million in funding from several investors at the end of June.