Tiptapp was founded in 2015 by Timothy Bjelkstam, Fredric Rylander, David Höök, and Anders Lövbrand. The app was launched in 2016 with a focus on doing business in Stockholm. The concept is to work as an advertisement space for private individuals that want their garbage to be collected, and pay for it. Users, called ad-posters, post an ad of what they want to get rid of, when they want it to be picked up, and how much they’re willing to pay for it. It’s also possible to place an ad to have an item transported from one place to another. The ad-poster may also post ads for items to be given away.
The people that do the work of fetching, recycling, and transporting, are called Fetchers (hämtare). For these people it’s all about being quick – the ads disappear quickly, often in a few minutes, and there’s a lot of competition for the work. The price of the service, i.e. the wage, is entirely up to the ad-poster. Most of the tasks will pay out between 50 and 400 swedish crowns (sek). In the app both the ad-poster and the fetcher grade each other.
Tiptapp takes a 20% cut of the payment (previously 10%). If an ad-poster posta task with a compensation of 100 sek, 20 sek will go to Tiptapp and 80 to the fetcher. These 80 sek can not be seen as cash wages, as the fetchers are working on a freelance basis since the company doesn’t take on any responsibility of employment. The income is taxed and is supposed to be declared but all that responsibility is on the fetcher themself. Tiptapp points to Skatteverkets website for “sharing economy”. The risk of under-the-table work and tax dodging is large and in an interview with Dagens Nyheter, the CEO Tim Bjelkstam admits that they don’t have any way of controlling that the fetchers don’t work off-the-books. The fetchers aren’t insured as they work either, despite a lot of the tasks being physically taxing with a risk of injury.
To make sure that the trash has been recycled the fetcher is supposed to post a photo when the task is done. But a number of recycling stations have rules against photography, but in these cases a screenshot of ones location is enough, thus ones presence at a recycling station is confirmed. It’s not clear how widely Tiptapp oversees this. Despite this system it’s been made known that a lot of fetchers transport the trash and dump it in the woods or somewhere else that’s not fitting. There are economic incentives to not always fulfill the recycling since a fetcher can finish tasks quicker and make more money.
In October of 2018, Stockholm Stad ruled to ban Tiptapp from performing garbage collecting. This is because the service is against the communal responsibility of waste management, as well as against waste laws and the environtmental code. They also see that the app risks to promote a job market where “[…] heavy labour is performed with low compensation and no insurance. Thus risking to out-compete those companies that today have agreements with the city and collect waste for an agreed tariff.” Tiptapp has appealed this decision and the ban has not gone into effect yet. It’s unclear when this will happen.
In an article by Dagens Nyheter, one fetcher was interviewed and it was reported that for a lot of people this is their full-time job, that the worker has not received any information that they are obliged to pay income tax, and that the waste doesn’t always end up where it should despite Tiptapps claims of control.
Tiptapp AB are not making profits. Financial accounts form 2017 show a negative sum of about 12 million sek. The company is financed by various venture capitalists. Among those the venture capitalist corporation GP Bullhound AB and the founders of Avito (a Russian service similar to Blocket) Jonas Nordlander and Filip Engelbert.