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Startup enables all companies to tap global tech talent and pay by the hour
oDesk, an Internet startup that lets companies hire and manage remote workers from its global talent pool and pay them on an hourly basis, announced a $6 million Series A investment from Globespan Capital Partners and Sigma Partners.
oDesk allows businesses of all sizes to tap the global market for technology workers. With the firm’s unique management tools, hiring managers can monitor work performed thousands of miles away and build teams with the flexibility of a commitment-free, hourly payment model. oDesk’s talent pool includes carefully-selected programmers, designers, tech writers and quality assurance engineers in over 40 countries ranging from India and Eastern Europe to rural locations in the US. oDesk’s service is especially valued by Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), who can hire tech workers for as low as $10 an hour and manage those workers as if they were in the same office.
oDesk will use the funding to address the demand created by its impressive growth rate of 20 percent per month. “We enable businesses to tap the best talent from around the globe, and help freelancers and outsourcing firms find the opportunities that are right for them,” said Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk. “We are growing rapidly and taking strides toward our vision to let any company hire any knowledge worker anywhere in the world.”
oDesk’s platform gives managers total visibility into a worker’s activities by capturing screenshots, keystrokes, and webcam images. With this information, companies have the confidence to pay workers on an hourly basis. The hourly payment model offers many major advantages over fixed bid contracts. Managers are able to build virtual teams for large, complex projects over long time horizons. This is not possible with fixed bid contracts since it is very difficult to determine complicated requirements beforehand. Hiring managers and providers also avoid guesswork and speculative estimates about the time required for a project. Once the work is started, buyers can change requirements on the fly, without further negotiation. oDesk also offers a wide variety of collaboration tools including a bug tracker, source code repository, and virtual team room that allow teams spread across the world to work together effectively.
Investors are impressed by oDesk’s unique position in a rapidly expanding market. “In a flat world, companies need to hire the best global talent in order to remain competitive,” said Greg Gretsch, a managing director at Sigma Partners. “Businesses recognize that scouring the globe for technical talent holds tremendous opportunities as well as pitfalls. oDesk’s demanding screening process helps companies avoid getting burned.” With only 25 percent of applicants making the final cut, oDesk is highly selective in recruiting. Its service also gives hiring managers details about a provider’s feedback ratings, test scores, and work history.
After finding the best-suited workers in the world, managers can work with them like they were in the next cubicle. “oDesk offers a rich platform of management and communication tools that let people collaborate as if they were meeting face to face,” said Venky Ganesan, a managing director at Globespan Capital. “In the digital age, a worker’s physical location is irrelevant if they have access to the right set of tools. In some cases, electronic collaboration can be more effective than meeting in person.”
oDesk (www.oDesk.com) is the only Internet service that enables businesses to hire carefully selected technical workers from around the globe and pay them by the hour. With total visibility into worker activities, hiring managers are confident that they are paying only for time worked. oDesk’s suite of collaboration tools lets teams spread around the world work together effectively. oDesk customers range from Fortune 500 companies to small and medium businesses. Founded in 2004, oDesk is located in Sunnyvale, CA.