New Program Will Help Startups Hire Freelancers via the Internet, Empowering Entrepreneurs with Access to the Skills Necessary to Grow Their Businesses
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – August 5, 2013 – oDesk®, the world’s largest online workplace, today announced the launch of a new startup accelerator partnership program called oDesk Upstarts. The program will help startups in 20+ partner accelerator programs bridge the talent gap in tech hubs, including San Francisco, New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, Tel Aviv, Melbourne, and Sydney. Startups at partner accelerators receive oDesk credits to hire online freelancers; recruiting services to find the right freelancers faster; and oDesk executive mentorship.
- oDesk is partnering with startup accelerators to provide their member startups with flexible, affordable talent, allowing the founding team to focus on their critical, core work.
- Startups are now able to delegate to freelancers any type of work that can be done on a computer.
- Founding partners include top accelerators AngelCube (Australia), DMZ (Canada), Entrepreneur First (UK), GammaRebels (Poland), Hub:raum (Germany, Israel, Poland), Metavallon (Greece), Pollenizer (Australia), Seedcamp (UK), Startmate (Australia), Startup Chile (Chile), StartX (US), TheFamily (France), and UpWest Labs (US).
Program solves talent shortages in startup hub cities and rural areas
No matter where a startup is located, access to talent is a universal challenge—especially for resource-constrained, early-stage ventures. From London to Dubai and Toronto to Tokyo, entrepreneurs face a common challenge: finding, affording, hiring, and retaining the tech talent they need to build their businesses.
Startups that take advantage of the Upstarts program leverage online work in four ways:
- Hiring experts for the skills they need, especially those difficult to source locally: “One of the biggest benefits of using oDesk is finding experts with skills that I can’t find in London or Lisbon,” said Celso Pinto, CEO of Seedcamp-backed SimpleTax. “We came to oDesk looking for temporary Python developers. We found so much affordable, quality talent on oDesk that we’re looking to hire on a long-term basis.”
- Scaling a “bench” of talent up or down in response to demand: “It dawned on me that there was a whole world of people who could actually help out.” said Matthew Ogston, the co-founder of UK-based startup JobPage. “And oDesk not only made it easy to find these people, but to also manage their daily work priorities and tasks, and tightly control the quality of their output.”
- Delegating tasks when the core team doesn’t have expertise: The founders of Teddle, a London-based startup for booking cleaning services backed by Springboard (now Techstars London), lacked Google AdWords skills. So they hired an SEM consultant on oDesk, saving the founders 30 hours per week. SEM is now their main source of acquisition, fueling 291% growth in three months. “Every startup should be thinking about how to best leverage their founding team,” said Teddle co-founder Alex Depledge. “As long as oDesk exists, projects that don’t match the founders’ skill sets should be delegated.”
- Experimenting with new features, programs or prototypes, with minimal risk: Startups can also hire freelancers to do proofs of concept. Nick Blasgen, founder of Refractive Dialer (a cloud-based dialing system for Salesforce) says, “It probably costs me a few hundred dollars to give me an idea of whether we can pursue it. If it pans out, it’s a new revenue feature. If it weren’t for oDesk I would have to hire an individual and pay them—[and] I would have that individual on the payroll and working on a concept that potentially wasn’t going to work out.”
“Even if the ideal hire lives within a 50-mile commuting radius, startups will need a plan to actually find, attract, and afford them,” said oDesk CEO Gary Swart. “And even after you’ve managed to hire, the war for talent is not over—retaining star employees is often cost-prohibitive for startups.”
oDesk empowers entrepreneurs to break these barriers by hiring the best talent regardless of geography, managing online teams as if they shared an office, and paying freelancers seamlessly, even across international borders.
The new oDesk Upstarts program will help startups specifically break their hiring barriers by offering:
- Online recruiters, to help define project needs, draft job descriptions, and select applicants who meet project requirements.
- Credits, to give startups a kickstart in hiring online.
- Mentorship, to tap into experience from oDesk executives, who have worked at powerhouses such as Amazon.com, eBay, Kayak, Jawbone, OpenTable, Netflix, and PayPal.
Limor Goldhaber, founder of UpWest Labs-backed startup Dscovered, visited oDesk’s headquarters for the Meeting of the Marketplace Minds event to get advice on her marketplace for designers. “When we came to oDesk, we were looking for tips for entering the U.S. market. An intimate marketplace-startups-only discussion with experts who’ve helped built successful Silicon Valley marketplaces was invaluable for us,” said Goldhaber.
“We had a very productive fireside chat with Gary at StartX,” said John Melas-Kyriazi, Head of Business Development at StartX. “We discussed how CEOs can hire and build stellar teams and how to grow a successful marketplace. Gary is a gifted storyteller about lessons learned in the trenches of Silicon Valley and the early days of oDesk.”
“Thanks to this partnership with oDesk, we’re thrilled to add online talent to the list of resources that Seedcamp can provide to the world’s most promising startups,” said Phil Moehring, Principal at Seedcamp London.
“oDesk has been invaluable to us as a partner,” said Niki Scevak, founder of Startmate and Blackbird Ventures, “both through their formal startup program and through the strategic advice oDesk’s leadership team has provided to Startmate’s marketplace startups.”
“Australians have a great interest in and strong history of success with marketplace startups,” said Nathan Sampimon, cofounder of AngelCube. “Discussing customer acquisition, scaling and fundraising with the CEO of one of the largest marketplaces in the world was invaluable to our members. We plan to make oDesk a regular stop on our future visits to Silicon Valley.”
“Earlier this year, Matt gave a fantastic presentation at NEXT13 in Berlin on our startup stage,” said Fee Beyer, Program Manager at Hub:raum. “He shared his insights on how you can find the perfect team, how to grow it and how to make them stay. We are delighted to have partnered with Matt and the oDesk team to bring their Silicon Valley expertise into the thriving Berlin startup scene.”
oDesk (www.oDesk.com) is the world’s largest online workplace, enabling businesses and freelancers to work together on demand via the Internet. By using technology to remove the barriers of traditional hiring, oDesk’s platform aligns startups’ talent needs with freelancers’ desire to work when and where they want, on projects of their choosing. More than $1B of work has been done on oDesk. oDesk is a registered trademark of oDesk Corporation. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
The Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ) (http://digitalmediazone.ryerson.ca/) is one of Canada’s largest incubators and multidisciplinary co-working spaces for young entrepreneurs. Set atop Yonge-Dundas Square, and infused with the energy and resources of downtown Toronto, this hub of digital media innovation, collaboration and commercialization is home to both startups and industry solution-providers.
Entrepreneur First (www.entrepreneurfirst.org.uk) Entrepreneur First builds big, disruptive companies by recruiting the top 0.1% most talented students in the UK as they graduate and supporting them all the way from team building and idea generation to scaling and fundraising. The startups from our inaugural 2012 class have raised millions of dollars of funding around the world and include companies revolutionizing fields as diverse as philanthropy (Prizeo), advertising technology (AdBrain) and enterprise collaboration (Kivo).
GammaRebels (www.hardgamma.com/gammarebels), a part of HardGamma Ventures, three months long accelerator program for technology startups, based in Warsaw, Poland, offers what is the most important for startups – initial investment, advice, mentoring, and relevant business connections. At the end of the program startups present at Demo Days in Warsaw and London. They also take part in a demo tour to Silicon Valley.
Hub:raum (www.hubraum.com) is the hub that connects your team, vision, and expertise with the corporate power of Deutsche Telekom: tailored to your needs. The thrust of such a corporation can propel you to new heights but may as well make your life difficult sometimes. Therefore hub:raum manages your connection to one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies.
Metavallon (www.metavallon.com) is the leading startup accelerator in Greece, a non-profit organization that enables early stage entrepreneurs to develop, launch and solidify their ventures. Through its proprietary three-stage program, the Startup Series, Metavallon seeks to motivate talented Greeks, guide them on key principles of entrepreneurship, expose them to experienced entrepreneurs, experts and investors, and provide them with the necessary resources to start their own businesses.
Pollenizer (www.pollenizer.com) is an online venture builder based in Australia and Southeast Asia. Pollenizer creates brand new web/mobile businesses and grows them from idea through to sustainability with co-investment, talent, technical services, consulting and education. Established in 2008 by Mick Liubinskas and Phil Morle, these two veterans of the dot-com boom (and bust) have held key executive positions with the likes of Kazaa and Tangler.
Seedcamp (www.seedcamp.com) is the most connected international seed investor in the world and is Europe’s leading micro-seed investment and mentoring program. Since launching in 2007, our family now includes nearly 90 of Europe’s most promising startups with several acquisitions. Backed by an awesome team, board, and group of investors, we are incredibly active and invest in about 20 startups globally annually.
Startmate (www.startmate.com) is a group of startup executives offering mentorship and seed financing to founders of global Internet startups based in Australia. You can find out more about the companies that have participated in Startmate. The five month program offers a $50,000 investment, a network of more than 25 successful mentors and a two month trip to Silicon Valley.
Startup Chile (www.startupchile.org) is a program of the Chilean Government and its end goal is to position Chile as the leading innovation hub of LatAm. We believe said goal can be achieved via connectedness, and that is why we seek to attract early stage, high-potential entrepreneurs to bootstrap their startups in Chile, using it as a platform to go global.
StartX (startx.stanford.edu) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Silicon Valley that runs one of the world’s top startup accelerator programs for Stanford-affiliated entrepreneurs. It builds a community of innovation where the best entrepreneurs can flourish and develop through experiential learning and collective intelligence. StartX provides founders with educational programming, a three-tier mentoring system, office space, access to a talented network of industry partners and other resources. Founded on campus by Stanford students in 2009, the organization is supported by Stanford University, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Kauffman Foundation, Microsoft, Intuit, Cisco, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, AOL, Greylock Partners, Founders Fund, Groupon, AT&T and many others.
TheFamily (http://thefamily.co/) is an Ecosystem accelerator providing Education & Unfair advantages to startups, investors, corporates and officials. Established in January and opened in March this year, TheFamily has already gathered more than 800 applications and taken on over 30 startups, several of which have already received investments or exit offers.
UpWest Labs (www.upwestlabs.com) was founded in January 2012 in Silicon Valley as the only accelerator program in the US serving Israeli entrepreneurs. To date, the program has enabled over 100 Israeli entrepreneurs to build their product closer to their market, establish strong partnerships and create valuable product momentum. The accelerator provides a mentorship-based three month program, offering startups a small seed investment, essential resources, and access to a robust network of experts, customers and capital.
Shoshana Deutschkron, Director of Communications
Ally Basak Russell, Head of International Marketing