Q&A: Antony Woodcock of GIG explains how the gig economy is changing the world of work
Hot off its £1m seed funding and official launch earlier in the month, Bdaily spoke to GIG’s co-founder and Chief Executive Antony Woodcock about getting the business off the ground and how the gig economy is changing the way people work.
Can you give a brief introduction to your business?
GIG, which was named and designed for the ‘gig economy’, is a platform that matches shift-workers with businesses of all sizes in London in the hospitality and retail sectors.
The introduction of GIG means people no longer have to work the traditional 9-5. It enables people to wake up one morning, find and book work through the app, complete a shift and then they automatically get paid within 24 hours.
For businesses using the app to hire workers, GIG provides substantial savings by removing an outdated charging structure and introducing transparent posting fees or subscription models for frequent users.
Where did the idea for GIG come from?
My brother and I run a sushi store called Maki. We noticed that most of our employees were millennials who wanted to work flexibly to fit earning extra cash around either their studies or busy social lives.
There was one employee in particular, she was a Law student at a local London university and asked me on a regular basis whether she could change her shifts to meet her deadlines at university. More often than not we were able to be flexible but not always.
Also, at Maki, our trade increased dramatically over the summer, which meant hiring extra staff on part-time contracts. This was a painful process, as we had to add them to the payroll, sort out payslips, complete a right to work check and other admin. Therefore I created gig to automate that part of the process and make it easier for employers like Maki.
What makes GIG to different to other job platforms?
People using our platform get paid 24-hours after doing their job. GIG is all about immediacy for job seekers, so if we didn’t provide this - we wouldn’t be sticking to our promise of enabling them to live how they want to.
For example, if a student wakes up on a Friday and sees that they are one or two pounds short of being able to afford a night out on the weekend - they can search for and complete a job and get paid 24 hours later, meaning they never have to miss a night out again. That’s what GIG is all about.
How did you get your start in business?
I always worked for big hospitality companies and got to a stage where I wanted a new challenge and escape the corporate world. My dad, who died a couple of years ago, taught me everything I know in business and to grab opportunities when I saw them.
So, I ditched my job and launched Maki - which was borne out of me and my brother’s love for sushi and the lack of choice and quality available on the high street. I spent a year or so growing that venture, which led to the idea for GIG and its recent launch.
What are your aspirations for the business in the next five years?
We’ve launched in London and plan to expand to other major cities in the UK shortly. We have spent a huge amount of time on the technology, ensuring that it has the ability to scale. We’d like to ensure that we have tackled the UK market first before looking to expand internationally, but that is certainly something we have in our sights.
We also have a vision in our heads of a world where shift work is widely adopted and people are empowered to live and work how they want to. We’re looking forward to playing a major role in making that happen.
What has been the most challenging aspect of getting the business off the ground?
The evolving landscape of the gig economy means that it is changing on almost a daily basis - so just keeping up can feel like a battle. That said, we feel we have entered the gig economy at just the right time, as it is hot on the media agenda and moving forward quickly.
If it continues to move at this pace, then a similar thing is likely to happen with work as it has with food delivery and transport due to platforms like Deliveroo and Uber. Work will become increasingly on-demand and we’ll live in a world where people carrying out shift-work through platforms like GIG is a common everyday thing.