Cooks First or Rules First? Josephine.com’s Regulatory Struggles in the Shared Economy (A)

Cooks First or Rules First? Josephine.com’s Regulatory Struggles in the Shared Economy (A)

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Abstract

This case focuses on Oakland-based Josephine Meals (formerly at josephine.com), a shared economy platform that brought local home-based cooks and the neighborhood consumers together to create a market for the distribution of home-cooked meals—outside the channel of established restaurants—and the challenges this start-up faced with regulatory agencies, first with the City of Berkeley’s Environmental Health Division and then with the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health, as it began to scale up over a four-year period and navigate through the existing cottage food laws that threatened to shut down business opportunity. Part A describes how Charley Wang and Tal Safron—two tech entrepreneurs just out of college—started Josephine as an online platform in 2014 in Oakland, California, as a way for local cooks, often of modest ...

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