#71: Marketplace Magnate and Former GM of Uber Portland, Bryce Bennett, on Lessons of ‘Jumpstarting a Marketplace’ and ‘Marketplace Density'(Part 1)

Ready for part 2? Click here!


Bryce Bennett is the founder and CEO of Solo, a platform that is bringing tools & transparency to independent gig workers, optimizing their time, and allowing them to move between more gigs. They also recently acquired their seed funding.

Bryce comes from a track record of startup marketplaces, first at Uber Seattle where he launched Seattle and then eventually Idaho, Alaska, & Montana. He also was GM of Uber Portland where he ran the whole business! After that, he joined as a key leader @ Convoy where he oversaw Convoy’s matching process between supply + demand.

Enter Solo….Over the course of 12 months, Solo has acquired $5.3M in funding, grown to over 2,000 gig workers, and is providing a critical service to a potential market of 60 million US gig workers, all while being a FREE platform.

This conversation was…flipping sweet. Bryce is a calm but electrifying marketplace leader, it’s as if he has an under-current of ambition streaming through his veins. This man has gone hard in the marketplace universe.

We dive deep into…Starting at Uber and the opportunity to bring “Uber everywhere” to life, lessons of “jumpstarting a marketplace” and how he carried that to Solo, the power of data for the gig worker & how Solo is becoming indispensable, “marketplace density” and why you need to hold that factor constant, and how Solo is empowering the “underdog” of the marketplace, the gig worker.

This episode is particularly valuable for operators in any B2B SaaS or marketplace business, who are curious of how to experiment FAST with features and products that obsessively serve & delight their customer.



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Show Notes

  • What was Puget Sound Prep Productions? [4:30]
  • Did you do that for University of Washington athletes? [6:18]
  • Would you have to go to a lot of (sports) games? [7:40]
  • How Bryce developer his entrepreneurial spirit [8:55]
  • You started a t-shirt business? [9:47]
  • How did your career bring you to marketplace startups? [11:34]
  • What did town car drivers think of Uber? [15:33]
  • What did Uber market to drivers? About driving during downtimes? [17:34]
  • What was UberX and launching in those (new) cities? [19:15]
  • How Uber brought on as much “Supply”, during the early days [21:55]
  • How do you entice people to join, in a city where there is no “Supply”? [22:19]
  • What work did you do to change regulations in the state of Idaho? [24:32]
  • What kind of an argument can you make, to Idaho state legislature? [27:20]
  • What Uber was really fighting for in Idaho. How did it shake out? [28:49]
  • What did you observe at Uber & Convoy, that lead you to starting Solo? [30:45]
  • Isn’t it pretty easy (to manage) for a gig worker? [32:58]
  • So you’re able to guarantee income for gig workers? How? [35:10]

Links from Episode

What’d you learn about Uber & Solo, that you didn’t know before? Comment below.

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