Hopwork raises 5M€. Future of work is here, and it’s beautiful.
These days, everybody seems to be talking about work, and “future of work”. Between the fear of robotization and the rise of an uberesque “on-demand” economy, some raised the question whether digital economy and platforms lead us to a better world.
When I started to work on Hopwork in 2013 with Jean-Baptiste Lemée and Hugo Lassiège, we wanted to build a platform that would help talented freelancers and great companies to meet and work with each other as easily as it is to rent an apartment on Airbnb.
We honestly did not understand why there was no simple platform to look for a freelancer, say a developer, designer or webmarketer… for either a 1-day or 1-year contract.
Of course, there was a way, through outsourcing companies or SSII in France, where companies recruit talents out of school and send them straight to work at their customers’ offices. We saw a huge and undisrupted €300 billion market in Europe where most players do not deliver the best and most transparent experience to both workers and clients. And more and more people such as Jean-Baptiste and Hugo were actively choosing to go free.
Today, Hopwork is already a community of 35,000 freelancers and 18,000 companies working together. The vast majority of the connections made through Hopwork would never have happened in “real” life. We are proud to have generated tens of millions euros worth of projects for our community.
So what exactly makes Hopwork different ?
- Human centered vs Task/Project oriented platforms. Would you find it logical to “order” a Java developer as you order a cab ? Being driven from point A to point B is an “easy” task, which may even be automatized soon. When you look for a java developer, you look for a “creative class” worker with skills, experience, and social abilities to work with you or your team. What you look for is a human, after all. That’s why Hopwork is based on a community of freelancers, each one having their profile to share their aptitudes and personalities, which customers browse through to find the best match and contact them. That’s how you get the best freelancers. You can’t post a public project on Hopwork, and you’ll never be able to do so. You can only choose and meet real humans.
- Location, location, location. The idea of working remotely with someone is cool. That’s even what we do at Hopwork since most of our tech team works remotely. But we also know that meeting up in person as often as possible is key. Most of the contacts made on Hopwork lead to a meeting between the customer and freelancer, and potentially working on a project where they will share the same office for a time. That’s why Hopwork search results are based on where you are.
- A Data-powered community. To make it super easy for our customers to use Hopwork and find the best freelancers, we built a search engine. Easy for them, not so easy for us ! If a customer is looking for, say, a UX/UI designer, we need to instantly know who the best freelancers are for this particular customer. To be able to do so, we crunch data : freelancer activity, availability, reputation, conversion rates, etc. And that works for clients as well as for freelancers. We have tons of stories of people who have built a reputation on Hopwork and are now doing much better than before both in activity levels and revenue.
- Safety. · Helping create a connection is one thing. Being able to work together securely is a whole other. Through Hopwork, freelancers and clients contract safely, are insured, and know that payment won’t be an issue. Since we have a local approach, we also verify all the freelancers’ legal documents.
- Human, again. This is key to us. Since the very start of Hopwork we have stood side by side with our community. Today, freelancers from about 20 cities in France organize “Hopdrinks” with other freelancers from the community, which we attend regularly. Being human also means bringing the best support to our customers, a key to our success which is held by our fantastic team of account managers.
We love the future of work
Being in contact with dozens of Hopworkers every day makes me sure that the future of work can be positive. There is a lot of talk these days about the rise of new independent workers. Some of them will be a part of the “on-demand” economy, but a vast majority of them is already in the “freelance economy”. About 9 Million Europeans have chosen to become freelancers, or iPros, as defined by EFIP (European Federation of Independent Professionals). Most of them haven’t waited around for a platform, but we hope Hopwork will help them expand their work by making it much easier to find customers, get paid (on time !), and build their reputation.
We also believe that working with freelancers will help companies in their “digital transformation”. Our customers are both small/medium business launching an app, designing a newsletter… as well as Fortune 500 companies (50% of the “CAC 40” companies in France work with us) which need to bring in new “digital” talents. Freelancers are the digital transformation pollinators and accelerators of a massive economic shift.
Hello 2017 ! #hopworkiscoming
Having just raised 5 million€ will help us continue to build the best platform for our community. We’ll do that in France where we are now, but will also open new European countries next year. For that, we need help, and will recruit 30+ new people in our team. So if you believe the future of work can be human and positive, and you want to make it even better, join us !