Platform services

Co-operatives are flexible entities and respond effectively to new conditions. With businesses moving onto the internet and operating as platforms, a new type of co-operative has come into being – the platform co-op. Think Uber or Amazon, but owned by the drivers and the customers respectively.

The first platform co-op to be registered in Australia is bHive Bendigo, a sharing economy platform owned by its users.

Some of the benefits of platform co-operatives include:

Protection from exploitation through ownership, transparency, control

Unlike Uber and Facebook, which are owned by investors, a platform co-op is owned by its members. An Uber owned by its drivers, or a Facebook owned by its users, would provide ownership, control and protection against exploitation for members.

Prospect of data democracy

Ownership of data is valuable; so much so, data has been called the new oil. A platform co-operative, because it is owned by its users, would remain accountable to them in its use of their data.

Money flows within local communities

Platform co-ops like bHive Bendigo are owned locally, which keeps the profits made by the platform local giving the community an economic boost.

Useful links

Platform services examples

bHive Bendigo

bHive is based in Bendigo, Victoria. Local Bendigo residents will build, operate and own the platform that will build over time to provide skill sharing, car sharing, lifts, food sharing, logistics, house sharing, crowdfunding, insurance and lots more.
Established Year: 2017
Type: Platform co-operative
SMart Logo


SMart is a co-operative for freelancers. It “employs” its freelancer members and provides them with back-end services such as payment security, debt collection, insurance and training. It has close to 100,000 members across nine European countries.
Established Year: 1998
Type: Platform co-operative
Stocksy Logo


Stocksy is a stock photography platform owned by the photographers who supply the photos. Its high quality, curated stock photography and video footage raises the bar of stock photography and cinematography. It has close to 1000 photographer members in over 60 countries.
Established Year: 2013
Type: Platform co-operative
Industry: Arts and Culture