Citing more than 2 million rideshare and delivery drivers in the U.S., Dustin Walsey, co-founder of Buckle, saw a gap where “gig” drivers had to buy expensive commercial car insurance as would a taxi driver. In 2017, he launched Buckle with the goal of helping gig economy workers access affordable options.
One benefit Walsey notes is that Buckle doesn’t use credit history to determine rates, “I see that as discriminatory. These folks deserve a break. Think of how they have helped us during the pandemic.”
Walsey previously worked for Akamai Technologies in business development serving Fortune 100 companies. For over a decade, he was the owner of Auto Town Insurance.
When new industries evolve, entrepreneurs often jump on trend opportunities. Combined with the pandemic, Grubhub, DoorDash, Lyft, Uber, Postmates and dozens of delivery services created market shifts.
“The gig economy will remain critical to our world post-COVID,” Walsey said. “They have been on the front line supporting us as we work from home. After herd immunity, people will be jubilant and ready to break free. Local delivery habits will be forever changed and integrated in our society. Who would need to drive to pick up a prescription?”
Buckle, operating in Georgia, recently added Tennessee and will go state by state to widen its footprint, Walsey noted. “Insurance is regulated at the state (not federal) level. Thus, we have to study each market and be efficient and nimble to eliminate friction. We have invested heavily in data.”
Buckle employs just over 50 people and uses a work-from-home COVID strategy.
Enter IT whiz Dimitri Tyryshkin, Buckle’s staff software engineer. He came on in 2019 with a strong portfolio of supply chain logistics at The Home Depot, IT at Israeli VDO Net, and Citrix, a pioneer in videoconferencing.
A native of Siberia, he immigrated to Israel in 1998, then moved from South Florida to Atlanta. In terms of his Buckle role, he said, “I’m a jack of all trades, doing staff software engineering that makes the accountants’ jobs easier. I wear a lot of hats, basically connecting how things work smoothly together. We are a work in progress, as we continue to add more states.”
Walsey and his family are members of The Temple, while the Tyryshkins belong to Temple Sinai. The two entrepreneurs are brothers-in-law, married to sisters Jenny and Erika.