Juicing gig economy payouts — literally.
In terms of the mechanics of the collaboration, Lime will send payments to what is billed as the scooter “juicer” force that exist as a network of freelancers who get paid to charge the scooters.
In an interview with Karen Webster, Brent Warrington, Hyperwallet's general manager, said the collaboration spans local funds disbursement options across several geographies, well beyond the United States and on a daily basis.
The payout flexibility, he said, dovetails with an important rule of thumb for what might be thought of as the scooter economy — and has implications for the gig economy.
There will always be scooters, he told Webster, and there likely will be continued demand for that mode of transportation, especially in the environmentally conscious age.
“But if, for some reason, we can't efficiently pay juicers around the world, the new scooters don't work. It doesn't matter how many scooters you have [or] how many riders you have,” Warrington contended, “if batteries are dead.”
Payments, he said, represent one of the most critical parts of value chain fulfillment.
The critical nature of payments, he said, is reflected in the fact that Hyperwallet has had zero customer attrition across its history. PayPal bought Hyperwallet — which links cash payout options, card schemes and mobile money services with ACH networks — for $400 million last year.
Lime’s average daily payout amount is $65 USD — and the company has scaled into more than 100 U.S. cities, across 25-plus countries (spanning five continents), in three years also shows the speed in which certain verticals, use case and attendant gig economies can gain traction and scale dramatically.
The movement toward outsourcing at least some functions of the value chain (Lime, for example, could choose to manufacture scooters but does not) to gig workers is an inexorable one. And at the same time, large online platforms that bring gig workers and customers together — Airbnb and Uber among them — have gained critical mass too. Lime, for its part, has stated that growth has been especially rapid in Latin America.
The tailwinds for payouts via preferred method certainly seem in place. Consider that a recent Gig Economy Index, produced in collaboration between PYMNTS and Hyperwallet, showed that last year gig workers’ earnings were estimated to exceed $1.7 trillion. The most popular method for gig worker payouts, as measured at the end of last year, was PayPal, which stood at nearly 42 percent, and up from a bit more that 32 percent in the first quarter of last year. And, as estimated, a majority of digital marketplaces, at 51.3 percent, use PayPal.
In Warrington’s words, the juicer opportunity represents another use case, and “another dimension of income for people who are working in this gig economy phenomenon.” He said that adding payouts for Lime means that the scooter-focused company can scale more quickly around the world, with additional countries and regions coming online over the near and medium term. As he told Webster, “you don’t want to have to stop and pivot every time there is a new payout method.”
PayPal, he said, would likely be a popular payment option for the juicers due to global familiarity, especially among younger gig economy workers, who may be digital first in mindset and may be averse to traditional banking activity.
The Marketplace Mindset
Lime’s growth, said Warrington, also offers a snapshot of how online marketplaces are growing to embrace specific use cases, more granular and fine tuned than Amazon, where buyers and sellers span countless verticals.
Now, he said, online platforms may serve specific interests or products such as wine, art, furniture or any other form of commerce or service — but with the need to transact cross-currency and cross-border.
The platform model, he said, represents a “shortcut to getting a consumer closer to a purchase, and closer to a seller who has what the buyer needs.”