WorknGo, a startup company created by UC Berkeley students, will soon be launching an app that allows students to pick up temporary work shifts at local businesses.
According to WorknGo Chief Financial Officer Jason Oberai, jobs offered through the app are low-skilled, temporary and on-demand. In an effort to make working as “convenient and easy as possible” for students, there is no formal application process.
WorknGo Chief Technology Officer Lawrence Zhang said the platform is currently limited to UC Berkeley and Berkeley City College students for “quality assurance.” Once students sign up, they will receive notifications from the app and can select and apply to the jobs they want to take. At the job site, students will receive five to 10 minutes of training.
“We’re mainly covering people with missed shifts at McDonald’s,” said WorknGo marketing director Raymond Peng. “It’s not actually replacing anyone’s part-time or full-time jobs. WorknGo for the employer is mainly a way to fill in missed shifts and the turnover they see.”
The company’s original partners include McDonald’s and Kiwi Campus, but WorknGo is also looking to expand and partner with other local companies. WorknGo CEO Andrés Izquierdo said both McDonald’s and Kiwi have strong relationships with the campus student body and are aligned with WorknGo’s mission of helping students.
WorknGo exists under Skydeck, which is UC Berkeley’s startup accelerator and incubator. According to Skydeck Executive Director Caroline Winnett, although WorknGo does not receive any funding from Skydeck, it can utilize other resources such as workspace areas and Skydeck events. In order to cover the cost of operating and marketing, the startup charges its business partners a 25 percent commission, according to Oberai.
Oberai added that WorknGo was also able to create a legal framework for its app through Skydeck.
“We find the idea very interesting as a potential benefit for students because it would enable students to have these very flexible assignments at local businesses that would be a much better fit for what a student’s life is,” Winnett said. “We’ve been very impressed with their grit and determination.”
Although the app has not been released yet, students can already sign up online. According to Oberai, WorknGo currently has 234 users, and the retention rate once students work a shift is 80 percent.
Zhang said the team is in the final stages of debugging its platform, adding that the app is set to be released in the next three weeks.
WorknGo has raised a few eyebrows among community members, however, who have pointed out a lack of job security when looking for employment through the app. Izquierdo responded to these concerns, saying that the fundamental difference between traditional jobs and WorknGo is that users are not committing to full-time or part-time positions.
Campus freshman Rose Walker said she thinks the concept is helpful for students who want to earn extra money, given that having a full-time or part-time job can be difficult for students.
“It would be good for people who work during the week and then have weekends off but really don’t feel like they’re making enough money and want to make some on the side,” Walker said.
Campus freshman Paola Haro echoed Walker’s sentiment, adding that WorknGo could be helpful for businesses.
“I think it’s ideal for the people who also have to miss shifts as well, so they won’t have to worry about their boss not being able to find someone else to cover their shift,” Haro said.