Gigwalk and the Mobile Workforce
It makes little sense for businesses that make their living from local information to hire a vast team of people to cover the nation, documenting potholes, menus, posted signage or other information. In order to collect this kind of information, governments and companies in the past have had to consult old maps, rely on inaccurate data from municipal sources or assign employees menial tasks that are outside of their job description. Without an automated process of cataloging local data, maps remained inaccurate, guidebooks pointed to closed businesses and a host of other online data remained unverified and incorrect, much to the detriment of end-users and the bottom lines of businesses that relied on providing such data.
Enter Gigwalk. Founded by Yahoo veterans Ariel Seidman and Matt Crampton, as well as noted Apple software designer David Watanabe, Gigwalk is designed to correct the problem of inaccurate local data by harnessing the power of people using smartphones. Clients create a relationship with Gigwalk whereby they are able to post job (“gig”) listings for local businesses, on local streets, etc. These listings are then sent out to smartphone users (at this point, Gigwalk is only available on iPhone) who take pictures, answer questions and otherwise collect information about businesses and infrastructure. Once this data is collected, the information is relayed back to clients via Gigwalk and the user is delivered payment via a Paypal account. As more jobs are completed, users gain “street cred” which can unlock higher-paying gigs. In July, Gigwalk announced a partnership with Bing Maps to supply data for businesses using Microsoft’s Photosynth application.
When it was launched in May of 2011, Gigwalk did have some competition to reckon with in the form of Field Agent, but because of the tight integration of Gigwalk’s software, they were able to secure a $1.7 million Series A funding round from Michael Dearing of Harrison Metal, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Discovery, Bill Trenchard and Eric Paley of Founder Collective, and others. Gigwalk immediately began to grow rapidly and in July had already registered over 110,000 Gigs completed. Gigwalk is currently available for Gigs in 8 cities: Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Miami and Boston.
About the Founders
Ariel Seidman is CEO of Gigwalk and was formerly the Director of Product Management for the Yahoo! Mobile Search & Discovery team where he was in charge of mobile search products on both mobile and web applications. Prior to his time at Yahoo!, Seidman spend 4 years at Siebel Systems, which was acquired by Oracle.
Matt Crampton is the CTO of Gigwalk and is a former Senior Software Engineer at Yahoo. He also enjoyed a 5-year tenure at America Online.
David Watanabe is a veteran application developer, having created such programs as Acquisition, Inquisitor and Newsfire on the Apple Platform. Watanabe is a Canadian native.