Work Market: On-demand Technology Labor Catching On?Work Market: On-demand Technology Labor Catching On?
Work Market pitches itself as an enterprise-class marketplace for freelance labor. The marketplace serves all vertical industries but IT labor is a hot area of focus. The reason: Co-founder Jeff Leventhal previously built OnForce, which connected IT contractors with project work across the U.S.
January 31, 2013
jeff_leventhalWork Market pitches itself as an enterprise-class marketplace for freelance labor. The marketplace serves all vertical industries but IT labor is a hot area of focus. The reason: Co-founder Jeff Leventhal previously built OnForce, which connected IT contractors with project work across the U.S. and Canada. So what is the past, present and future of Work Market? The VAR Guy caught up with Leventhal for an update.
As of Q4 2012, the company had 250 active clients — of which 50 are seven-figure (or more) engagements. The marketplace has 31,000 users and “it’s growing daily. We achieved momentum” said Leventhal. “we achieved more in our first full year live as an operating business than any company I have previously seen.” Leventhal is a serial entrepreneur and also invests in start-ups.
A 2012 Force Field survey of IT pros suggests Work Market is already leading its field. Without getting into the bits and bytes of the survey, Leventhal said the company’s current momentum involves transparency with marketplace participants.
“We have a clear, transparent, honest approach about how the marketplace works,” he said. “Our fees, rating systems and insurances all speak to that.”
Research and Development
On the R&D front, Work Market has added the following capabilities to the platform:
evidence reports for insurance
API integrations (Salesforce, Autotask, NetSuite, Quickbase, ConnectWise, Remedy…)
custom invoicing and statements
social sign-on and data integration
custom roles and permissions
enterprise scale and database architecture
Desktop, Tablet, Smartphone
Check out the system’s user interface and it seems to leverage a single metaphor that works across the web, tablets and smartphones. “Our metaphor lets our customers be both buyers and sellers of labor on the platform, based on a simple setting in your profile,” said Leventhal. “This setting turns features on and off across the web, tablet, and mobile interface. We’re also focusing on HTML5 for web/tablet because it allows our team to deliver features rapidly, build more client customization into the product, and be ubiquitous across all devices with one code base.”
Leventhal says customers drove user interface decisions, “based on our analytics of current usage and breadth of technologies being used to access Work Market. The freelancers on Work Market are the biggest mobile users today — checking in and out on site, gather survey and end-user data, and updating their assignment status. We anticipate the buyers in 2013 will want more tablet and mobile features as well to know where their workforce is and to handle exception and status management.”
Funding and Staffing
Work Market has raised $11 million in two rounds of funding. “We don’t need more capital to be a successful business but we are contemplating more as a way of fueling the fire,” said Leventhal.
The company has about 40 people, and the next area of focus is marketing. “We expect to hire a strong VP of Marketing plus marketing team,” he said. “This is the part where we fuel the fire, build our brand and make sure everyone is aware of our capabilities.”
So where does Work Market go from here? Leventhal has a concise answer: “More clients, better product.”
“We continuously improve our product,” he said. “Building high quality products is our way of showing our clients and resources respect. We will release software 100-plus times this year. Our product team has a long road map and vision. We get input from our user community, our team and our anticipation of the market. The hardest decision each day is what to build next, but it’s a fun one. We love to call clients and report that their requests are being released. Its a special time in our relationship with our client.
Also on his priority list: Hiring more Java engineers, user interface designers, DevOps specialists and sales people for the company’s New York City and Long Island offices.
Thousands of VARs and independent contracts rely on various marketplaces — Work Market, OnForce, etc. — to find short- and long-term customer engagements. Some critics have worried that the marketplaces will squeeze pricing and profit margins for the IT contractors and the broader IT channel.
But much like eBay and CraigsList in the online auction and virtual garage sale markets, it seems like Work Market, OnForce and others are matching buyers and sellers of IT services much faster than the two parties could have ever done on their own.
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