How to grow platform alternatives (fast) (EN)
10-01, 15:40–16:20 (Europe/Berlin), clementine
Language: English

How can democratically-structured platform alternatives grow despite scarce resources? What support structures do they require? And what does all of this have to do with sustainability?

Platforms centralize data, capital and power – and create new dependencies. In response, alternative platforms have emerged in recent years which make use of cooperative principles for a democratization of the platform economy. This session will ask for the strategies that such platforms use to survive ‘in the market’ and discuss whether and how this model can contribute to a socio-ecological transformation. Focus is put on one particularly promising strategy: building cooperative federations. This particular type of platform co-op wants to build the resources that are needed to implement a platform (be it a technical infrastructures or business knowledge) and make these resources available to local actors from the platform cooperativism-movement. In this panel discussion, we will discuss the potentials of such federations with three representatives of movement: Oriol Alfambra (Mensakas/CoopCycle), Ela Kagel (Platform Cooperatives Germany) and Felix Weth (FDO Solutions/ Each panelist will explain in short pitches (a) what services their respective federations provide, (b) what sustainability goals they pursue, and (c) what pitfalls exist. The discussion will enrich the conference by outlining a concrete, real-world alternative to digital capitalism and by elaborating conditions of success for such alternatives. Greta Franke and Jonas Pentzien (both IÖW) will moderate the discussion.

Jonas Pentzien fragt im Rahmen seiner Tätigkeit als wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung (IÖW) danach, wie sozial-ökologische Alternativen in der Plattformökonomie aufgebaut und skaliert werden können.

This speaker also appears in:

Ela Kagel is digital strategist and managing director of SUPERMARKT Berlin, a platform for digital culture and alternative economy in Berlin. Since 2019, she also serves on the board of Platform Cooperatives Germany eG, a cooperative that supports decentralized, cooperatively-structured companies with a digital business model, especially in the start-up phase. Just this year, in 2022, Ela has started the GameChanger project together with SUPERMARKT and the Curatorial Collective for Public Art (CCPA), which deals with the changed framework conditions of cultural institutions in a networked world. At the center of Ela's work is the effort to promote a cooperative, digital economy - as an alternative to the monopolies of the platform economy.

This speaker also appears in:

Greta Franke ist Sozialwissenschaftlerin und arbeitet am IÖW In Berlin. In ihrer Forschung beschäftigt sie sich mit der Plattformökonomie und dem Aufbau von kooperativen Plattformen als Alternativen.

Felix is the founder of Fairmondo, Germany's first platform co-operative. Based on the experience with Fairmondo, he created FDO Solutions, an agency that helps platform cooperatives with technical development and strategic consultancy. He is also a co-founder of, an online-marketplace for local shops with delivery by cargo bike.