Shmulik Fishman is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Argyle – an infrastructure-as-a-service company that makes workforce data (everything from UBER to Fiverr) accessible through a single API. Insurance providers, credit card issuers, and applicant tracking systems use Argyle to unlock the power of workforce data.
Before Argyle, Fishman was the Chief Operating officer of STRATIM, a company he co-founded in 2014. STRATIM raised over $40M in venture funding and sold in 2018 to KAR Auction Services, an $8B publicly traded company. STRATIM built software that automated the operations of large-scale vehicle fleets across the United States and Canada for clients such as General Motors, Enterprise Rental Car, and Zipcar.
Prior to STRATIM, Fishman worked at Adap.tv, an online video advertising marketplace now owned by Verizon Wireless. At Adap.tv, Fishman reported to the Chief Financial Officer and was responsible for order payment processing and actionable data insights on the company’s health.
Fishman has held positions at World Financial Desk, a high-frequency trading firm and global market maker; Merrill Lynch, a global financial services company; and the Metropolitan Transit Authority, America’s largest transportation network serving a population of 15.3 million people across New York City, Long Island, southeastern New York State, and Connecticut.
Where did the idea for Argyle come from?
The value proposition of my previous company Zirx, was on-demand parking. A valet picked up a client’s car at their home, office, or a restaurant, stored it securely in a parking lot and returned it to the customer whenever and wherever they wanted. While the unit economics of Zirx never panned out, what interested me most was not the customer’s user experience, but rather the range of work the Zirx valets performed. These young workers didn’t have desk jobs and didn’t have a single employer. Instead, each day they worked at different gigs. Sometimes as a barista, sometimes as a delivery driver, sometimes as a handyman, sometimes as an office support person, and sometimes as a valet for Zirx.
For most people, the future of work is not one of single employment but recurring gigs, across different platforms. The question then becomes how to allow these workers to make use of the data they are creating at multiple platforms each week. Data such as the number of hours worked, number of jobs completed, attendance, earnings, duration of work, reviews, ratings, and quality are no longer stored in one location but in many platforms simultaneously. The data generated at these gigs must be provided in order to get an insurance quote, purchase benefits, get a credit card or a loan, pay taxes, and even to apply the worker’s next gig.
This is where Argyle comes in. Argyle connects to workforce platforms allowing a gig worker to authenticate into their accounts and enable their data to stream directly to a business that is offering them products and services they want to obtain. An analogy is how you give mint.com information about your accounts. On mint.com you log in, select your financial institutions, authenticate, and data is then continuously transferred between your financial institution and the mint.com platform. Argyle performs the same service for gig data. Workers log into their workforce platforms and their data is automatically transferred, via Argyle, from their workforce platform to the businesses the gig work authorizes.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m an early riser and I like to get into the office when it’s still quiet. I have a game with myself each morning to get my inbox down to zero before tackling the day’s important projects. I use asana.com. It has all my to-dos — large and small — from scanning a document to a client to monitoring the progress on quarterly business objectives.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Whiteboards are some of my best friends, particularly when there are multiple people working on them simultaneously. It’s a dynamic environment where people are writing thoughts, drawing diagrams, erasing each other’s work and setting a path on which everyone is aligned. Whiteboards spur creativity and bring ideas to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The digitization of money and the removal of a physical wallet. While it’s still in its early days, the cashless society is here. Today people are sending money to each other, making payments to almost every kind of vendors and walking around without cash. I do all three. I’m looking forward to the day when a digital device — with appropriate privacy guarantees — is all I need in my pocket.