Kobina Ansah of Long Island City is one of four winners of the fifth annual “Make It Awards,” a grant that provides four entrepreneurs and creators with funds from the tri-state area and exposure to elevate their businesses.
Ansah received $30,000 in funds, a one-year subscription to Squarespace – one of the grant sponsors – use of the website and e-commerce platform marketing inventory, a subscription annual Unfold Pro and a feature segment on MSG Networks for its Coverr business.
The other grant sponsor is the New York Knicks.
“We are a personalized online financial services provider for gig economy workers like Uber drivers or DoorDash delivery staff, with the goal of helping them reach their highest earning potential,” said said Ansah. “The first product is a business advance, which provides capital or funds to site workers so that they can take care of short-term emergencies such as a tire blowout, trip cancellation Uber or volatility mitigation. of their daily income.
Despite a successful career with financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and Ernst & Young, Ansah noticed that he was not helping a diverse population in his work, where he would underwrite more than $1 billion in transactions.
“Often, I found that I was failing to serve a diverse population that represented individuals who looked like me,” Ansah said. “I went to pursue my MBA and I went to find out how to serve underserved customers.”
Through some research, Ansah found that Uber drivers spend between $100 and $300 a week to rent their car, and within a year they still couldn’t own a vehicle.
“They could pay market price and still have nothing to their name,” Ansah said. “Initially I thought I should auto-fund this group, but very quickly I realized that people couldn’t even handle the $500 deposit for this service.”
The real problem was cash management, according to Coverr’s founder.
“We tested that with a few drivers and started to grow the business from there,” Ansah said. “I started getting inquiries from other independent contractors who make up the more than 50 million participants currently operating in the US economy.”
Alberto, an Elmhurst resident who did not want to share his last name, is one of the people using Coverr.
He has been a Lyft driver for nearly five years and also works for international luxury chauffeur company Blacklane.
“I use it for emergencies when I’m low on cash,” Alberto told the Queens Chronicle. “The program is very simple. In 24 hours you get an advance.
Coverr has no papers and there is no credit check, the Lyft driver said.
“Sometimes your car breaks down for no reason or you have an extra expense like you have to go to the dentist or there’s something you have to pay out of pocket,” Alberto said. “Cover balances your week. Drivers in general always need cash for gas, tolls, and E-ZPass, which requires you to keep a certain amount of cash in your account. It’s emergency cash… With Coverr, you just need your bank statement to prove you’re working, that’s all. It is convenient; because it’s fast… I don’t even go to a typical bank anymore. With this, you will have to wait 72 hours.
Ansah hopes to automate more of its business, expand its bulletin board so more people can use the service, develop customer acquisition strategies, and better identify companies that pay employees well together for its customers. with the funds it receives from the grant.
“We’re directing clients there,” Ansah said of finding high-paying gig companies. “Coverr’s true vision is to provide a full range of personalized services for this rapidly growing segment of the workforce.”
The gig economy is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, but it’s also one of the newest and therefore one of the underserved, according to Ansah.
“Going forward, I want Coverr to be this central point where people can get financial support, business and tax services, and revenue optimization services,” Ansah said. “That’s really the goal.”