Gig Capital: Mapping finance and investment in digital platforms

Different economic analysts have noted that digital platforms are experiencing a financial crisis (Financial Times, 2023). Years of “cheap” credit from venture capital allowed them to grow and expand in different sectors and countries. Last year, this situation drastically changed. Inflation and the central banks’ response to rising interest rates has put on digital platforms an increasing pressure to become profitable and to give returns to their initial investors. This paper explores an often neglected dimension in the geographies of the gig economy, the role of finance and capital in the shaping of digital platforms. Drawing on digital methods (Munk and Venturini, 2022) and ANT (actor-network theory), this paper explores the flows of capital from Global (North) International markets towards Latin American ventures in delivery platforms during the period 2020-2023. This exploration aims to add an additional layer in the analysis of digital platforms showing the convergence of capital and regulatory interest across countries and geographies.

Oscar Javier Maldonado Castañeda is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Universidad del Rosario (Bogotá, Colombia). He has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Lancaster University and has been postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Technology and Social Change (TEMA) at Linköping University (Sweden), visiting researcher at the TANTLab (Digital Methods Laboratory) at Aalborg University in Copenhagen (Denmark), and visiting professor in the Social and Human Sciences Graduate School at the National University of Colombia. He is currently Principal Investigator in the project Fairwork Colombia and Fellow of the Summer Program in Social Science at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies (2020-2023).