In an announcement that has sent shockwaves across Silicon Valley, a new startup billing itself as “Uber for Serfs” has announced plans to go public later this month. The startup, feef, is already attracting hordes of eager VC’s looking to get a stake in the company before its shares skyrocket in value.
For founder and CEO of feef Jordan Schlokt, the hubbub is no surprise.
“Our business model signals a legit revolution in how serfs deal with their vassals,” promised the 24-year-old Schlokt in feef’s IPO announcement. “No longer do peasant farmers need to actually own the land they till; instead, we provide a twenty-first century platform to connect them with wealthy patrons who can provide that land in exchange for a cut of the profits. And of course, we at feef take a small slice too.”
Three years ago, Schlokt coded feef in his Stanford dorm after a night of whippets and waffle fries, before dropping out to work on the project full-time. Now, his gamble is finally paying off. Business Insider has called the company a “genuine phase shift in how wealth is extracted from labor,” and a profile in WIRED went so far as to call it “a bold, brash, 21st century take on feudalism.”
But not everyone is in love with the Bay Area’s newest darling. Workers right advocacy groups, for instance, have described feef as everything from “more or less indentured servitude” to “no, definitely indentured servitude.”
“That Schlokt asshole undercut the prices I used to charge for my oats, so I ended up having to join feef myself as a ‘serf-tier’ member,” said Doug deRonk, an oat farmer. “Now, I barely keep enough of my profits to sustain the oat farm, and I’m not allowed to start work until 3 am because my vassal lives in Hong Kong.”
“Also,” added deRonk, “I hate how feef hired a fully-armored, sword-wielding knight to kill me if I don’t meet my quotas. That fucking sucks.”