After a year of work behind the scenes, Elance-oDesk has relaunched as Upwork, with the company also launching a new platform that will allow businesses to make hires in three minutes.
The new Upwork platform allows freelancers and businesses to connect more easily through enhanced matching algorithms, a work status feature allowing freelancers to set their availability to ‘Right away’, ‘Later’, or ‘Not looking’, and a new mobile app allowing both sides of the marketplace to work on the go.
The platform will also be looking to generate higher quality proposals from freelancers by incentivising them to be more selective in the jobs they apply for.
Stephane Kasriel, recently promoted to CEO of Upwork, said that though there is a giant talent pool of freelance professionals, most businesses still limit their thinking to rigid local hiring models – and it is this that Upwork will be looking to change.
“Upwork’s launch signals a new chapter of work in which people are able to hire quality talent, regardless of where the professional happens to be, in minutes. Freelancers were already earning $1 billion annually via Elance-oDesk; I predict they will earn $10 billion annually via Upwork within six years,” Kasriel said.
“Though we are already the largest freelance talent marketplace, enormous market opportunity remains, and we decided it’s time to up the ante. This new platform will make hiring near-instant, which is a radical reimagination of work.”
The new platform also focuses on real-time group collaboration through a tool that the company has likened to Slack, with the tool free for anyone to use, whether they are Upwork users or not.
Integration with and support for tools like GitHub, Jira, and Google Drive is expected later this year.
The relaunch follows the merging of Elance and oDesk last year, which Australian country manager Kyri Theos said provided the opportunity to launch the new platform.
“Essentially, we merged because both Elance and oDesk were leaders in the field of online work, and were both just getting started. The merger brought together the resources that we needed to scale faster, and this relaunch is a major landmark. It’s the culmination of both our efforts,” he said.
Theos said Upwork will also be launching monthly training sessions to help people working in startups through to corporate develop skills in hiring online.
Featured image: Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork.