Featured Startup Pitch: People as a Service – A freelancer marketplace with a unique approach
People as a Service, a new cloud-based solution, allows companies to take advantage of the growing freelance economy in a unique way. Unlike traditional time-consuming methods of searching through a large pool of untested freelancers, companies can now hire the freelancer with the skill set best suited to their project.
People as a Service was created with the understanding that the market for work is broken. Companies often don’t get the flexibility and the talent they need, while talented workers are often stuck in jobs they don’t like. We aim to fix this problem in the market by connecting companies that need to get things done with people all over the world who have the talent and the time to get them done. We make this process as easy as possible for the customers by supporting them all the way, from defining the job, selecting the right person, and then following up on the progress of the project. This allows our customers to delegate without risk, so they can focus their time on what is most important to them.
I made a career in technology in companies like Accenture, Volkswagen, and BDT, a $160 million information technology company of which I was the CEO. Through transforming organizations and leading people, I realized that our concept of work is highly inefficient and ineffective. I thought there must be a better way. That is why I started People as a Service in the beginning of 2014 to build a marketplace that brings the companies in need of talent for remote jobs together with the best global talent in terms of both quality and cost.
We are building a new market that needs a lot of education in the marketplace. We are creating relevant content, which we distribute through social media, blog posts, PR, presentations, and tradeshows. We also do some limited digital advertising to lead potential customers to our content.
Our business model aims to disrupt the global market for virtual work. In the U.S. alone you have over 50 million people working as freelancers (part-time and full-time). This number is much larger worldwide, and this is only the tip of the iceberg for the use of a virtual workforce for companies.
HOW WE’RE UNIQUE
Today, there are only limited offers on the market from freelancer portals like Upwork, Freelancer.com, Guru, 99designs, etc. These however only provide a self-service model, which makes it very hard, expensive, time-consuming, and risky for a company to use them. In our case, we act as a trust partner for companies and only propose virtual workers that have been vetted by our process, saving everybody time and risk.
We pride ourselves on the trustworthiness of our workers, all of whom undergo a rigorous selection process and interview to determine their skills and reliability. By offering tailor-made, reliable solutions for each client, People as a Service gives customers back the valuable hours they need to develop their business and close sales.
We are working on a subscription-based model, where the customer pays a flat monthly fee depending on size and complexity of the organization; beyond that we do not charge any other fee. This allows us to be fully aligned with the interests of the customer and virtual workers, and allows us to always find the best solution in terms of cost and quality. All other solutions currently on the market add a percentage to the fees which their freelancers charge, and therefore have an incentive to sell higher-value projects to the customers.
In addition to the launch of our web platform, we also debuted iOS and Android applications which complement our hands-on approach. Available for free download, the apps act as a pocket organizer compiling all important projects, tasks, and delegated items. By simply clicking on a task, users can alert People as a Service that a freelancer is required.
Most companies are not taking advantage of the sharing economy’s potential of a virtual workforce because other services make it too complex and rigid. Our new payment plan and smartphone application ensures that we can keep offering a truly flexible product to clients who want easy, fast and secure completion of their projects.
We just finalized a Seed financing round of $425, 000, which we announced last month, and are now looking to grow our business. For this we seek sales-focused employees to acquire new customers.
FOUNDER: Rolf Ritter
INVESTORS: Daniel Bossard, Georg Meyer, BDT, Rolf Ritter
YEAR FOUNDED: 2014