Swedish Startup Space

Coworks pivot from freelancer-referrals to curated online staffing

Written by on December 2, 2013

Online staffing, or finding freelancers online is an extremely competitive space. Freelancer, eLance and oDesk are three of the biggest players dominating the market – not to mention smaller, more niched sites like Behance and Dribbble that help companies find talent.

Stockholm based Coworks have a slightly different take on things – namely, curation. Until recently though, they’ve been focusing on a referral model, which on the surface would make sense. “Find great talent by leveraging the power of your network” seems like a pretty solid pitch, but unfortunately for the guys – it didn’t really catch on.

The problem, according to Coworks CEO Henrik Dillman is two-fold – companies don’t trust online staffing and the majority of high quality freelancers are better off finding work offline. Coworks want to solve both of these problems.

Long term online co-working relations are rare and it is not a mature market. There are 29 million U.S. companies and most of them haven’t heard about online staffing. We have learnt that that most clients with long term online co-workers are really satisfied while companies trying out online outsourcing generally are disappointed with quality and the experience. It is obviously all about finding the right people online – as it is offline. No surprise. The trust issue on online staffing remains to be solved.

Coworks aim to solve this problem by offering a hybrid of online and offline matchmaking. Companies can post a job, and Coworks will personally deliver a curated list within 48 hours. Dillman tells me that at first this process will be manual, but of course they aim to automate this process in the future.

The key will be to start small – and that they are doing. They’ve managed to get a couple of Stockholm based startups using the platform for small design-focused jobs (landing pages, copywriting, UI tweaks) – a niche which could be worth pursuing. Plenty of companies lack in-house design competence, but also don’t want to go through the hassle of using the other platforms that are known for having a lot of noise.

We are now combining the offline model and the online model for staffing, supplying manually vetted freelancers for any design project in 48 hours. By doing this we take away the pain of selecting candidates. With our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee we make it easy to reap the benefits of online staffing.

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