Afternoon Coffee: RigUp raises $300M in latest funding round; Trump tariff call-off continues supply chain uncertainty

AdobeStock/Nongnuch Leelaphasuk

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has called the logic behind President Donald Trump’s trade strategy with China akin to taking “one step forward, two steps back,” according to Telecoms.com, after President Trump before the weekend called off the latest tariff increase set to take place.

“The tariff delay on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods is welcome news for American businesses and consumers – but a one-step-forward, two-steps-back approach means U.S. businesses will continue to struggle under the burden of tariffs and uncertainty in supply chains,” Gary Shapiro, CEO of the CTA, is quoted as saying.

For RigUp, it’s a gusher

Online marketplace RigUp, which refers to itself as “the energy industry’s largest marketplace for on-demand services and skilled labor,” has announced a $300 million Series D round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Since its first Seed Round in 2014, RigUp has raised a total of $393 million in private equity, plus $30 million in debt financing. The latest financing confers a $1.9 billion valuation on RigUp.

Austin-based RigUp was founded in 2014. According to the announcement, “RigUp’s platform matches contract workers with energy companies operating in the upstream, renewables, midstream, and downstream sectors looking to efficiently source and manage skilled trade labor.” It also “offers contract field workers access to the largest network of energy companies, flexible payment terms, and streamlined access to partners that provide comprehensive healthcare benefits and training.”

RigUp projects $2 billion gross service volume on its platform, more than a 200% increase from 2018, according to the announcement. Coincidentally, RigUp’s gross service volume is on par with that of online freelancer marketplace Upwork, whose 2 predecessor companies, Elance and oDesk, were launched in the mid-2000s.

Online, skilled, freelance work has been a significant component of the work/services platform economy, but the largest and fastest-growing segment has been on-the-ground work ranging from ride sharing and deliveries to field services (e.g., Field Nation), light industrial (e.g., Wonolo) and hospitality (e.g., Shiftgig).

“Field work, largely performed by a workforce of highly-skilled independent contractors, has typically been staffed through a fragmented network of small brick-and-mortar firms,” Xuan Yong, CEO and co-founder of RigUp, was quoted as saying. “That’s inefficient for the companies that need to quickly staff projects and manage labor costs, and it doesn’t give independent contractors access to all available opportunities.”

Spend Matters began its coverage of RigUp in the March 2019 Contingent Workforce/Services Insiders Hotlist where we juxtaposed RigUp with supplier risk management company, Avetta (also covered by Spend Matters). To learn more about Avetta and contract workers, tune into the webinar, October 24th The War For Contractor Talent: How Manufacturers Can Find the Workers They Need (and Fast), featuring Azul Partners’ Lisa Reisman.

Backers of Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency to meet today

All eyes will be on the all-important meeting on Monday of those who have backed Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, coming just days after some major payment firms had quit the project, according to Reuters. These include Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, and eBay.

Politicians and regulators from the United States and Europe have said that Libra risks upsetting global financial stability, undermining users’ privacy and facilitating money laundering, according to Reuters.

Women are being drawn to trucking

The Wall Street Journal reports that salaries are proving to be a draw for women to join the trucking sector. The median wage per year for heavy truck drivers is about $44,000, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

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