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Building a fairer future for delivery riders

Data Technology • Startup
Strategy • Research • Product Design
12 months

The gig economy has boomed over the last decade, with delivery services experiencing the most significant growth. As a result, a flexible workforce has boomed.

But this employment opportunity has not been without its challenges for the tens of thousands of riders central to the business model's success.

Will and Alfie from Rodeo had seen both sides of the delivery app boom. They'd both been tech-side at one of the industry's most prominent players (and done their fair share of delivery work).

They'd seen its potential and downsides. They could also see a better future for riders—a fairer, more open future for those who deserve it. They knew that harnessing data about a rider's delivery income, time spent on the roads, and performance could help these self-employed riders better decide which platforms to use.

Connecting riders could build a community that didn't just compete but cared for their collective welfare. By sharing tips, feedback and knowledge to help fellow riders make better choices about which jobs to accept and how to stay safe on the roads.

They also needed to showcase the app's potential to investors who shared that motivation and vision.

The Rodeo team were already benefitting from the support of Seedcamp in preparation for their initial Seed round. However, they needed experienced design expertise to bring their vision to life.

Tackling rider trust through design

After being introduced to Will and Alfie through a recommendation from one of Seedcamp's Venture Partners, we explored the essential areas design could add value.

Investing effort, expertise, and budget effectively was critical, validating the team's ideas and going to market with an app that would immediately connect with riders. The team were open to challenging their early assumptions about the value proposition. Facilitating workshops with the team in London, we dived deep into the riders' concerns and how Rodeo could best address them.

Many of these potential blockers centred around privacy. Would riders feel comfortable sharing their delivery data with a new app? How could we foster trust and showcase the value of understanding their data?

Journey and empathy maps proved invaluable in creating a shared understanding. Prototyping the Rodeo onboarding process and visualising the proposition framing was invaluable.

Tests with riders highlighted areas to strengthen but also feature ideas to reconsider. Pre-development validation had shown a need to double down on the value of community-centred ideas, an area previously seen as a lower priority.

Design's role in Rodeo's successful launch

Greater confidence in direction allowed us to collaborate more effectively, rolling out the initial app design by working hand-in-hand with the Rodeo development team.

A grassroots launch strategy and an app design aligned with rider needs would result in beyond-expectations user onboarding. Our collaborative process allowed us to roll out further launch features at speed, harnessing the buzz generated in the rider community.

After an initial 3-month engagement period of rapid design, prototyping and delivery, my relationship with Rodeo would continue for another nine months, moving to a subscription model through 2022.

“By giving better visibility, Rodeo users are able to maximise their earnings and ensure that they've got as much visibility as possible on where, when and for whom they can earn the most money,”
Alfie Higgins, cofounder of Rodeo.

Rodeo would secure a £5m Seed round in early 2023, with the team undertaking another successful raise with Mozilla Ventures later the same year.

With tens of thousands of riders benefitting from the Rodeo platform, the future looks brighter for those who make their living through this part of the growing gig economy.

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