On EQT Ventures’ investment in Willa, setting the foundation for the future of work

Sandra Malmberg
Jun 30, 2020 · 4 min read

Chances are, you probably know someone who works as a freelancer.

In my inner circle of friends and family I know at least six influencers, four photographers, two designers and three journalists. What they all have in common, beyond freelancing of course, is that they love what they do - their passion is their work.

Like my friends Amanda and Mathilda who run Sweden’s largest spiritual podcast - one as a full-time and one as a part-time freelancer - both putting their hearts into inspiring their listeners.

Amanda and Mathilda, who followed their passion and started Holy Crap podcast
Amanda and Mathilda, who followed their passion and started the Holy Crap podcast

In fact, it’s widely acknowledged that freelancing holds the key to the future of work. In 2019, 57 million Americans were freelancing, contributing nearly $1 trillion to the economy (almost 5% of GDP). One might expect getting paid being a fundamental condition for work, however freelancers still face uncertainty both from irregular income streams and clients not paying on time.

Consequently, many of our freelancing friends don’t know if and when they’ll get paid; forcing some to max out credit cards and others to use savings to cover monthly costs. And, to top it all off, being a freelancer usually means you have to be your own accountant, lawyer and admin, leading on average to a full day a week spent on paperwork.

Serial entrepreneurs solving a problem witnessed first-hand

A team that’s very familiar with the challenges faced by the creative freelancer community are the serial entrepreneurs Kristofer, Stefan, Peter and Aron. Many of whom were early members of the Spotify team, playing a key role in the brand’s growth and US launch. As well as having decades of experience in technology, product, marketing, and sales, the Willa team built Relatable - the world’s leading influencer marketing company.

Peter, Aron, Kristofer and Stefan- the team behind Willa- co-headquartered in Venice, California, and Stockholm
Peter, Aron, Kristofer and Stefan- the team behind Willa- co-headquartered in Venice, California, and Stockholm
Peter, Aron, Kristofer and Stefan — the team behind Willa, co-headquartered in Venice, California, and Stockholm

When we first met the team, we quickly noticed the level of care they had around making a positive impact on the lives of the freelancers they’d spent the last five years getting to know. At Relatable, the team collaborated closely with more than 10,000 freelancers and saw firsthand the issues faced by the creative community around late and overdue payments, as well as challenging payment terms.

When we talk about founder-market fit, this was it. Their aim was clear - remove the complications associated with invoicing and ensure people get paid for their work on time. As a result, Willa was born.

Willa Pay: Get paid without the paperwork or risk

Willa makes the collaboration between freelancers and companies easier than ever. As soon as a freelancer has completed a job, they use the Willa Pay app to quickly and simply let Willa know the details of the job they’ve done, who they did the job for, and how much they’re supposed to get paid.

On the other side, Willa takes care of all contact with the corporation and gets the paperwork in order. Should the freelancer wish to get paid earlier than their client’s standard terms, which is often anything from 30–90 days, Willa will pay the freelancer directly and take a small fee.

Consequently, the freelancer can finally get a predictable income, pay their bills and protect their credit score. A need which will only become more acute given COVID-19.

What’s next for Willa

EQT Ventures backs founders that have the determination and ambition to build global businesses that solve big problems using technology. The Willa team is doing exactly this by setting the foundations for the future of work. With the $3 million Seed round in the books, Willa is set to launch Willa Pay later this year.

Considering that more than 1,000 of the world’s most influential creative freelancers (with a collective reach of more than 100 million people!) joined the waiting list in the first few weeks, we’re beyond excited to join Willa’s journey and support what the team has set out to achieve both with and for their community.

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What does the food blogger Christine Yi, the golden-doodle influencer Samson, the professional dancer Alex Wong have in common? They are all a part of the Willa community! Sign up here to join and to be notified at launch.

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