Business

Startup Stories: Flex, the Association for the App Economy

New associations launch to fill a void in their sector. Flex, a new trade group for app-based companies, tells us what got them started, what they’re focusing on now, and their long-term vision for the organization.

Starting point: Flex is a new trade association representing app-based services like rideshares and delivery services. Some initial members include DoorDash, Gopuff, Grubhub, HopSkipDrive, Instacart, Lyft, Shipt, and Uber.

“We are a $348 billion-dollar industry that saw explosive growth in COVID and thereafter,” said CEO Kristin Sharp. “We want to make sure that our users have a seat at the table as policies are considered that empower consumers to use technologies faster and more efficiently and empower independent entrepreneurs to have the kind of flexible work that they’re seeking.”

Early work: “We’re working across the board to ensure that the platforms can contribute to our communities in as many different ways as possible,” Sharp said. She noted that the organization is supporting legislation to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The measure would ensure that the fund can continue providing COVID-related financial relief to the restaurant industry, which is important for members whose apps are used for food delivery.

“We’re also thinking about the ways that our industry helps with sustainability, in terms of getting cars off the road and ensuring that services and goods are moved around as efficiently as possible,” Sharp said.

Next steps: Flex wants to be the go-to source for information on how the industry interacts with the communities it serves.

“Everything from equity and access, to sources of income and work, to access for older Americans that are trying to get around to get to COVID shots—across the board, we’d love to see the industry association be a source of that information for policymakers, for workers, and for consumers,” Sharp said.

Ultimately, the organization wants the information it collects to support creative policymaking.

“This is a trade association that can really impact the way we support lawmakers at the city, state and federal level that are looking for creative solutions to their transportation, sustainability, and environmental questions, and to food access and some of the community solution issues that are out there,” she said.

(LeoPatrizi/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a senior editor at Associations Now. She covers money and business. Email her with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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