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Aug. 1, 2022

#337: Herb Coakley of Courial, on Building People-First Technology, Learning to Code, and Persevering through Failures

Herb Coakley is the Founder and CEO of Courial, a last-mile courier service that’s empowering gig workers nationwide with their people-first approach to technology. Created by gig-workers for gig-workers, their state of the art technology has modernized the courier industry by allowing any business or person to seamlessly connect with their community of on-demand couriers to deliver anything.


Herb Coakley is the Founder and CEO of Courial, a last-mile courier service that’s empowering gig workers nationwide with their people-first approach to technology. Created by gig-workers for gig-workers, their state of the art technology has modernized the courier industry by allowing any business or person to seamlessly connect with their community of on-demand couriers to deliver anything. They’re on a mission to change the on-demand gig economy paradigm. Better pay, true partnership, live dispatch support, paid PTO, transparency and a seat at the table, while reducing CO2 emissions in their communities.

Herb is a serial entrepreneur, former physicist and film producer, with degrees from Howard University, UCLA and Columbia University. He’s also a self-taught developer, designer and former gig-economy driver with over 20,000 gigs. At his previous start-up, he created technology that allowed seamless app switching for gig drivers, enabling them to earn much more money while drastically reducing distracted driving. He is now considered an evangelist in the on-demand, gig economy sector, a distinction that has earned the admiration and trust of gig drivers nationwide.

Topics Covered by Herb Coakley in this Episode

  • How Courial is empowering frontline communities and gig workers
  • Herb’s journey from physicist to filmmaker to entrepreneur
  • Courial’s origin story and getting investors & the connection into Y Combinator while driving for Uber
  • From stealth mode to launching their MVP and participating in climate tech incubator Elemental
  • Courial's core concept, pivoting from B2C to B2B, and serving a variety of stakeholders
  • Doing good while doing well
  • What Herb learned from his first business as an inexperienced founder and going through Y Combinator
  • How Herb taught himself to code
  • How Herb has leveraged inexperienced talent
  • How they’re diversifying investors
  • Launching in new markets
  • Herb’s unorthodox approach to being a people-first tech company

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