Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, platform capitalism has expanded greatly in the
delivery sector. The consolidation of an oligopoly controlled by a few corporate platforms has led to
precarious working conditions for “gig economy” workers. Increasing protests and strikes have led to
the reform of labour directives and to the emergence of alternative ways of organising work through
platform cooperatives. This article examines how these emergent platform cooperatives are mobilised
and their challenges and implications. Barcelona, the cradle of many platform economy and delivery
sector start-ups, is a critical case for examining the recent birth of alternative delivery cooperatives.
This article is informed by the cases of three cooperatives, organised by those working as riders,
providing delivery services in the city of Barcelona: Mensakas, Les Mercedes, and 2GoDelivery. The
paper shows how the embeddedness of these nascent platform cooperatives in favourable governance
arrangements, a supportive social and solidarity movement, the knowledge and experience of
workers, and the territory where the cooperatives are embedded are essential for their creation. This
multi-layered embeddedness is necessary, but not sufficient, to explain how platform cooperatives
thrive. The study concludes that the agency of platform workers, who triggered this transformation,
was essential for the emergence of alternative ways of organising work in the platform economy.