We've been paving the way for professional freelancers to work remotely. During the growth of our company, we've seen businesses come and go — raising tens of millions of dollars in venture capital and then quickly imploding — and destroying a lot of capital in the process.
Over the past few years, we've witnessed:
- The founding, financing (by Techstars), and shuttering of GroupTalent
- The founding, financing (by Ycombinator), and shuttering of Assembly's freelancing business
- The merger of oDesk and Elance
- The founding, financing, and quiet sale of Crew
- Countless other "developer marketplaces" launch into a brick wall
(...out of respect, we will avoid linking to articles about our dearly departed)
We've witnessed some growth as well:
- The founding, financing, and growth of Toptal (to $100M in sales)
- The founding, financing, and growth of Gigster (with over $30M in capital raised)
- oDesk & Elance's successful rebrand and turnaround into a platform that values high-quality freelancers
Why we're different
We are a bootstrapped company that has chosen not to raise a single dollar of venture capital. The only way we will continue to grow is if we keep delivering value to clients and freelancers better than anybody else. We have zero margin for error.
Our principles, listed below, are forged out of the reality of needing to maintain an operating discipline that is 10x that of any of our competitors, which translates to better, tighter, and more focused results for our clients and for our freelancers.
1. Professional Freelancers Only
We work with self-employed professional freelancers who take their craft seriously. This means, they take your job seriously. We don't have photos of them working from beaches, because real, thoughtful work for doesn't happen with sandy laptops.
They are unified by a core set of values, and are driven by a core mission. We have deliberately fostered an environment for independent professionals where results for clients create lasting financial opportunity for our freelancers.
Our average freelance professional works 20 to 30 hours per week, and earns $120,000 per year, working for clients remotely. This freedom is earned and maintained through the consistent delivery of value to our clients across the globe.
Professional Freelancers are different from employees you'd typically find at development shops, since they are entrepreneurs, self-driven, and are able to think like you — an owner. They are different from freelancers found on race-to-the-bottom marketplaces because they value long-term relationships and stability (but, with the freedom and autonomy of working independently).
To our mind, Professional Freelancers resemble the craftsmen and women of yore, those who took pride in their work and belong to guilds which encourage the development of their craft for its own sake.
2. More Skill per Dollar & More Skills Per Dollar
We've found that engaging a mix of senior talent on a fractional, freelance basis, allows you to access the expertise of high-caliber talent for the price you would pay for the full-time contribution of an average programmer ($120,000) — which in turn creates better, more lasting results for your business in the long-term.
Moreover, we are able to deploy a full mix of freelance talent to support your product engineering from ideation to launch — from an initial product manager and senior architect to build your plan, to UI/UX, to DevOps and specific engineers for each platform or language (all for the price of one full-time developer).
We don't believe in mythical generalist unicorn developers that can do it all for a single salary. We leverage the careful, planned mix of the right professionals at the right time to drive your product objectives.
3. De-risking Remote Software Development
Working remotely and trusting freelancers you've never met is risky.
Less than 10% of your overall engineering investment will go to "management" efforts, but this allows us to seamlessly swap freelancers in-and-out of your project based on your needs (with no additional cost) to ensure that you are in no danger of having your engineering work rely on a single point of personnel failure.
We've seen business continuity and technical knowledge management (i.e., what happens if the sole person on your application dissappears?) become a tremendous risk for many businesses, and our light layer of management mitigates that risk.
Why this matters for you, Ms. Client
When it comes to software development, you have tremendous choice. And if you believe in the power of free markets — as we do — that's a good thing. It forces us all to compete to win the honor of doing business with you.
Our business has been sharpened every day against the real needs of building a profitable, market-driven business.
We keep our ambitions humble: we aim to build value for our freelancers and our clients, one project at a time. Reach out and begin a dialogue with us and our freelancers. We'd be honored to do that for you.