Jeffrey Leventhal is the co-founder and CEO of Work Market, a work placeform (marketplace + platform = placeform) company, competing with eLance and others. Jeffrey was formerly CEO and founder of OnForce.com and the CEO & founder at Spinback.
He and I have spoken several times in recent months, and I thought I’d capture a snapshot of what’s going on at Work Market and in the marketplace for work market solutions, in general.
Stowe Boyd: The eLance/oDesk merger led to a flurry of news about international and virtual outsourcing, but onsite and local is just as big of a consideration, especially for smaller local businesses, right?
Jeffrey Leventhal: The way businesses access on-demand freelance talent is transforming for both on-site and virtual work for businesses of all sizes and we see it happening all around the world. Onsite/in person is a very important and required aspect of getting work done. I dont think its about small or large businesses – I think they will both leverage on-demand talent and we continue to see a broader range of talent willing to engage in this manner.
SB: What is the fastest growth sector? Small, medium, or large businesses?
JL: From our perspective, the largest market opportunity is with companies that spend $200,000 USD or more per year. Many of our clients spend well into the millions. That’s not to say that small businesses aren’t also moving quickly to an extended workforce model, but freelancers at scale- where we focus– require a different solution than the popular SMB products.
SB: I’ve made the case that work placeforms like Work Market and its competitors are actually filling a void in our economy that in the past might have been filled but government or other institutions, like unions. What’s your take on the role that work placeforms fill in today’s postnormal economy?
JL: Freelance work has been getting done for a long long time. What businesses like work market enable is faster, better access to trusted talent. Businesses can now easily and transparently find great talent, verify skills, engage them, manage work at scale, pay them and maintain history and ratings. We’re automating and growing what has been done. I don’t recall unions being involved in freelance work and the government struggles differentiating between full-time work and contractors.
SB: I meant that unions formerly acted as an intermediary between workers and their employers, and firms like yours are emulating at least some of that role.
JL: We definitely help make a connection and facilitate work. We are also keen on sharing marketplace data with our clients so they have a good sense of what going engagements are for high quality work. Everyone wins with good data transparency.
SB: Market growth for work placeforms is growing. What do you see for the trends in growth and market differentiation?
JL: The market is already large and acceptance is growing across a wide range of businesses. Businesses want variable cost structures and freelancers want to select whom they work for and fit work around a lifestyle. At different points in your career it might make more sense to freelance and at other times full time is great. The idea of a 20 year career seems to be dated and its exciting to be able to leverage placeforms like Work Market and work with several clients at a time. The breadth of experience is really good as well. This trend is bringing out the entrepreneurs inside of all of us.
SB: Thanks for the opportunity to talk.
JL: Thank you as well!