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Freelancing Website Upwork Goes Public

Upwork, Inc. operates an online website where freelancers can find gigs to work. It connects together independent professionals and some of the world’s best companies looking to get access to their skills and services. The freelancers on their website have over 3,500 skills to offer and they collectively earn over $1 billion per year. It a simple and effective way to find people willing to complete a project.

This company, which is based in Mountain View California, recently held its initial public offering and is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange, under ticker symbol EB. Upwork is the result of a merger that occurred in 2014. The two companies that merged were oDesk, which launched in the early 2000s, and Elance which was established in 1998. It is now led by Chief Executive Officer Stephan Kasriel. Among its largest investors are Sigma Partners, T. Rowe Price, FirstMark Capital, and Benchmark.

Upwork now has over 375,000 freelances looking to provide their services to clients. More than 95,000 businesses around the world use this company’s website and there are more than 70 categories of jobs available. Last year they generated more than $225 million in revenues. On the day of their IPO, their shares were priced at $15. The shares opened at $23 and finished the day at $21.18, showing investor confidence.

Among the types of skills offered by the freelancers on this website are customer service, web development, writing, sales & marketing, accounting, design, and mobile development. In addition to the desktop website, Upwork also has mobile apps available on both the Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The freelancers can work for any size company ranging from one-person operations to S&P 500 multinational firms.

The freelancers and companies interact remotely. The types of projects the freelancers work on can be short or long in duration. They operate the largest platform of its kind and is both more profitable and respected than its competitors which include Fiverr and TaskRabbit. They vet both the freelancers and companies, offer a feedback system, and use a very reliable escrow service to process payments.

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