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P2P home cooking startup treats workers fairly

Work & Lifestyle

The Uber of home cooked meal delivery, Josephine, wants to give employees stock options.

The gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common. It’s not an industry well known for the good treatment of its workers. Josephine is meal sharing company that distributes home cooking and is hoping to change this.

The app-based service connects neighbors with those looking for meals locally. The emphasis is on community connection rather than simply convenience. Would be Josephine cooks make an application to be a part of the organization. When that’s received, one of the company’s masters of public health makes an inspection to ensure cleanliness. Once on the platform, users can leave reviews, contact Josephine cooks or the central team directly, meaning there is a built-in accountability. The company takes a 10 percent surcharge on all the food sold, and supports their cooks by enabling them to start their own micro enterprise, providing them with tools and the resources — the payment processing, customer management, ongoing education, and more.

“We’ve been thinking a long time about how tech platforms can be less extractive and provide more value to the communities,” Josephine CEO Charley Wang explains. In this vein, starting January 2017, Josephine will give 20 percent of its company to the cooks via stock options, which will be distributed dependent upon how long the cooks have been with the startup and how many meals they serve. Josephine is also launching a Cook Council, which will be a rotating group of cooks, able to meet with the company’s leadership team and function as a conduit for feedback from the chef community. The Cook Council will also have at least one seat on Josephine’s board of directors starting in 2017.

Josephine first set up its offices in Oakland, California and is now focusing its efforts on Seattle, Denver and Portland. Are there other opportunities in the sharing economy to create fairer structures?



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