What Is a Platform Co-op?

Platform cooperatives are businesses that sell goods or services primarily through a website, mobile app, or protocol. They rely on democratic decision-making and shared platform ownership by workers and users.

What is a co-op? A cooperative is defined as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

What is a platform? A platform is an online application or website used by individuals or groups to connect to one another or to organize services.

A Tangible Alternative

Platform cooperatives are an alternative to venture capital-funded and centralized platforms, putting stakeholders before shareholders.

Platform co-ops are based on principles including: Broad-based ownership of the platform, in which workers control the technological features, production processes, algorithms, data, and job structures of the online platform; Democratic governance, in which all stakeholders who own the platform collectively govern the platform; Co-design of the platform, in which all stakeholders are included in the design and creation of the platform ensuring that software grows out of their needs, capacities, and aspirations; An aspiration to open source development and open data, in which new platform co-ops can lay the algorithmic foundations for other co-ops.

Stakeholders, Not Shareholders

Platform co-ops create fair and dignified working conditions for users and workers, offering profits for the many, not the few.

The Best of Two Models

Building on the almost 200-year-old history of cooperatives, and the digital platform model, platform co-ops combine and reconfigure the best features of these two models to create a distinctive, innovative approach.

A Global Movement

New platform co-ops are emerging every day, organizing in diverse sectors such as childcare, data entry, urban recycling, and home services.

Find Out How Platform Co-ops Can Benefit You