Helping Americans Navigate a New Work Order
Why We Invested in Steady
By Emmalyn Shaw
Most Americans are struggling. 40 percent of the country’s adults, if faced with an unexpected expense of $400, would either not be able to cover it or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money. Household debt is at an all time high, totaling $13.2 trillion. This dire scenario can make life’s common setbacks — an unforeseen car repair, a health emergency, or a job loss — lead to catastrophic financial consequences. And this is not a lower-income person’s problem. This picture captures the majority of our country’s middle class.
Against this backdrop, the US work force is undergoing a profound transformation. Private sector jobs are shifting from traditional W2 arrangements to flexible 10–99 contracting, creating income volatility and taking away employer-sponsored safety nets. While the 10–99 shift offers workers increased flexibility and autonomy, it also generates significant financial uncertainty and anxiety. Unpredictable work schedules and wages make it difficult for people to budget, plan for emergencies, and save for the future. Fragmented income sources and complex payroll and tax obligations often exacerbate the time and stress of managing cash flows.
Most FinTech innovation thus far has focused on helping Americans either manage their existing income — via solutions in tax automation, savings tools, and retirement planning — or manage expenses — through budgeting management, debt pay down, and credit solutions. However, there has been no tech innovation to date solely focused on helping households to supplement and grow their income, arguably the most powerful lever to improve household financial health.
That is why we invested in Steady, an aggregation platform that encourages people to discover flexible work opportunities that match their interests, skills, and availability, helping them to increase their income.
Since its launch two weeks ago, Steady’s income-building platform is already serving 100,000 Americans in a new segment they’ve dubbed as the “Build-Your-Own” workforce. Steady partners with companies looking for flexible workers and then connects these opportunities with workers’ profiles. Creating a profile is free and easy: workers can simply download the app to their smartphones and add in their interests and preferences to get started.
Whether augmenting retirement savings, working around childcare responsibilities, leveraging gig opportunities, or supplementing insufficient income from a primary employer, Steady helps people earn more. Through the app, users can:
- Build income: Discover and apply for extra income opportunities and shifts from large employers, small, and medium businesses and the hottest startups — including the top 40 gig economy players — filtered by location, interests, availability, and goals, in addition to helping define their overall portfolio of work.
- Build networks: Monitor relevant community activity, learn from peers, uncover new opportunities, and create connections that help maximize earning potential.
- Build buying power: Access a marketplace of exclusive benefits, from essentials such as prescriptions and groceries, to discounts on major expenses, such as auto care and telecom.
In the coming months, Steady is scheduled to roll out a key compliment to its platform: financial services and advice focused on helping flexible workers better manage their gig earnings and optimize their freelance lifestyle. The idea is to become an advocate with banking and other financial services providers to better serve a growing workforce — which represents more than 16.5 million people in the US — that do not conform to a traditional, full-time W-2 job.
We are excited by the potential of bringing value to both workers and businesses through Steady. American workers can access a rich set of work opportunities that best suit their skillset and achieve greater financial health. Employers of all types and sizes can access a diverse pool of talent and meet their dynamic needs.
Steady is a true mission-based company with great potential to drive significant financial and social returns. In addition to our alignment with the company’s vision, we are excited to work with Adam Roseman and the Steady team, whose commitment to addressing this American need is unparalleled.
Originally published at medium.com on August 21, 2018.