Wonolo is an online platform that is using technology to change some of the traditional staffing game for the benefit of both businesses and workers. The start-up got its legs within the San Francisco “Coca-Cola Accelerator” and launched commercially in December 2013.

Wonolo is designed to enable businesses to get a finite task done by a worker in some specified physical location within a given city. A couple of examples of the kinds of work the company can support are certain kinds of logistics/fulfillment activities (packing, receiving, returns, etc.) or merchandising tasks (restocking coolers, shelves and displays) — in effect, tasks that may need a worker or workers on demand and which can be performed with little or no training.

After entering into a service agreement with client businesses that wish to have certain kinds of tasks completed, Wonolo selects/vets and engages workers (“Wonoloers”) who are matched on demand via its app and dispatched to complete the work. The service it provides is dispatching a Wonolo-selected/vetted “Wonoloer” to complete a task that the client has specified. The whole process, from request to mobile dispatch and payment is managed across the platform. The point here is to accomplish some important task that a business client needs done (and do this on-demand, achieving the desired outcome with efficiency, reliability and quality).

And who are these “wonoloers?” The company is not merely plucking from a crowd. Essential to Wonolo’s model is vetting (including background checking) to identify the right kind of workers who will perform reliably. These workers are typically students, retired people, people between jobs, etc.

Perhaps most important, Wonolo has been developed from the start to be a for-business service (not a so-called peer-to-peer service intended for use by consumers). This is reflected in the design of the processes that the platform supports (including, for example, not even offering credit card transactions — a hallmark of online work platforms to date — rather, invoicing businesses in the manner they are accustomed to).

The Buzz

Many businesses need to get different things done in different locations across an urban area. They don’t just need people hopping around town, they need quality outcomes. That is Wonolo’s mission.