Filippos Kyprianou

Vonage for Startups

Filippos is running our Startup program at Vonage. He is passionate about all things innovation, startups and positive social impact.

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Startup Spotlight Series: Let's meet Gigli

Last updated on Apr 04, 2022

Today, people have more options than ever when it comes to supporting themselves, it’s no longer strictly necessary to rely on a classic 9-to-5 job to earn a living. This is in part due to the rise of the gig economy.

The gig economy is a labor market made up of freelance or part-time jobs as opposed to full-time, fixed contracts and it encompasses a wide range of fields—from driving a taxi or delivery vehicle, to editing documents, to helping with moving, to performing artists. Gig jobs might not be a new concept, but they have become popular among the younger generation over the years

Advances in technology have given people the opportunity to choose their work location and hours, providing unprecedented flexibility, often without the need to compromise on financial security. As part of this model of employment, niche tech companies are enabling the gig economy to broaden its reach by connecting workers with consumers faster. As a result the gig economy is broken down in 3 main components:

  • Gig economy workers - individuals available to be hired for a specific task or project
  • Consumers - individuals or companies requiring human capital to complete a specific task
  • Companies linking workers directly with consumers - typically app-based platforms matching gig opportunities with gig workers

One of the companies building the technology to accelerate the gig economy is Ontario based Gigli Inc. The team at Gigli is enabling university students to land gigs and at the same time provide local communities with a new pool of gig workers that have the flexibility to perform these tasks. Their solution aims to be the Uber of student gig work in university towns, and this week we caught up with Jake Moodie, CEO and Co-Founder to find out more about Gigli Inc.


The startup at a glance

Startup Name: Gigli Inc.

Industry: Gig Economy

Location: Kingston, Ontario

Date founded: May 2021

Number of employees: 3

Vonage API used: SMS Verification and Sandbox for Chat

In one sentence, what does Gigli do?

Gigli is an online marketplace that connects students with community members to complete their household tasks.

What is the problem you are solving? Was this the initial problem or did you pivot?

For far too long, university towns have failed to seize the opportunity before them; thousands of students live amongst communities that are intertwined with homeowner residents. Our team’s solution aims to bridge the gap between students and community members in these neighborhoods - one gig at a time. Rather than tackle just one problem, Gigli simultaneously eliminates two: the inability of students to commit to a part-or-full time job and residents having no channel to tap into the previously untouched student labor market. As students, we have little to no control over what tasks we do at work, what hours we work, and what wages we get. As community members, professional companies continue to charge expensive fees for labor-oriented tasks, given their market dominance among few participants. These two overarching problems are finally being addressed with Gigli Inc.

What differentiates Gigli from your competitors? Is there a secret sauce?

Gigli is a revolutionary online marketplace that was uniquely constructed from the ground up to optimize the experience of our end-users: students and community members. We were able to do this through the assembly of our fantastic team: Narges Rezeai, Allan Foran, and Jake Moodie. The three of us come from different backgrounds, with unique perspectives and skill sets that complement one another; we leverage these characteristics to brainstorm and ideate the best possible solutions. Our solution aims to be the Uber of student gig work in university towns. We have taken several steps to get there: brilliantly designed application with an optimized user experience, trustability, and validity through user reviews and ratings that go both ways, verified accounts, and personalizable profiles to allow users to get the most from the application. Our solution has all the tools for a successful brokerage platform; we make it easy for students and community members to solve the problems mentioned above. The formulation of the application design was an extensive process; it looks good, has substantial ease of use, and provides users with an overall fantastic experience.

VC, Angel, Bootstrap or Other?

Bootstrap, but will be seeking fundraising through VC once we have validated proof of concept in Kingston.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge that we have had to overcome is managing our schedules. Two of us are University students and the other is the CEO and President of an entirely different artificial intelligence startup. At times, it can get hectic and difficult to schedule things, but we overcome this challenge by communicating effectively. We have our different team management applications extremely organized and simple so that communication is at the forefront. We all stay on the same page and can adapt quickly if something arises.

The biggest mistake Gigli has made so far and what did you learn from it?

The biggest mistake that Gigli made so far is setting a premature date to officially launch. As much as we cannot wait, we must ensure that the application is a quality prototype before releasing it. We rather wait a bit longer and create a solid foundation rather than rush into a launch with a shaky structure. The Gigli team has a long-term vision for this application and therefore it is imperative that we operate carefully and do things the right way from the get go.

You can choose one to be on your board: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Who do you choose and why?

The Gigli team would choose Jeff Bezos to join our board. This is not a diss at Elon or Bill, but Jeff Bezos does happen to have the most successful marketplace ever created. Coupled with that, Amazon continues to use innovative technologies to improve upon their existing customer experiences and interactions on Amazon.

How have you been using Vonage’s APIs?

We’ve been using SMS Verification in production and now testing the Sandbox for Chat.

What progress have you made since launching?

  • Entire clickable Gigli mobile application prototype
  • Fully functional Gigli web application for prototype launch in Kingston, ON
  • 10+ strategic partnerships with notable organizations like Vonage, RBCx, Stripe, and more
  • Instagram with following of over 500+ organically
  • Incorporated and Trademarked
  • Attended Canada’s SAAS North Conference in Ottawa

What’s next for Gigli? Where do you want to be in 3 years?

Gigli is looking forward to our upcoming initial launch of our web application in Kingston, ON, Canada. We are excited for students and community members to interact with Gigli’s marketplace after over 11 months of developing it. Our goal with this launch is to validate proof of concept before seeking fundraising to begin scaling this solution. In 3 years, we want to be in every single Canadian community providing jobs to millions of students. We are also ambitious to penetrate international markets such as the United States. We want to be the Uber of student jobs. Gigli will be the vessel that empowers youth while simultaneously benefiting communities.

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