Zubale, founded in Mexico City by two HBS grads, just raised $4.4 million to put locals to work over their phones

A year ago, at a demo day south of San Francisco, we watched a number of recently formed startups pitch investors on their companies. One that stood out to us at the time was Zubale, a Mexico City-based outfit whose founders were looking to connect big corporations with Latin Americans eager to address tasks on their behalf. A person could conduct on-the-ground market research for a brand, for example, then earn mobile phone credits or other redeemable digital rewards.

Fast-forward and Zubale, which had 10 employees at the time, now has 40 full-time employees, and has completed 170,000 tasks on behalf of the consumer brands on which it is squarely focused — and for two reasons.

First, according to Zubale co-founder Allison Campbell, the retail industry across Latin America is generating $2 trillion per year, but companies are also shelling out $40 billion on “super painful and high spend” that includes employees who complete in-store tasks like stocking shelves, checking prices and building displays.

Campbell says Zubale can save — even make — these companies money by crowdsourcing the same tasks to independent contractors who can choose from an inventory of similar jobs near them.

Campell and her co-founder,

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