The current tech and business climate more closely resembles the wild west than it does Wall Street. In an era where “disruption” has become a noun that companies use with boastful pride, it is clear that dynamic changes to workflow—and, needless to say, work itself—is helping redefine entire industries. Much of this is born out of tech, but tech has inspired a new era of workers, and the freedom of the freelance economy is their bread and butter.
Much has been said about the gig economy: the ways in which it’s good and bad, the ways in which it’s changing and becoming more essential. For many, a company like Fiverr—an online marketplace which business can hire freelancers for a variety of project types—is both a blessing and a curse, the answer to their prayers and the problem at their core. Their marketing campaign, “In Doers We Trust”, came under fire in 2017 for largely promoting what many saw as the idea of working to death. Hyperbole notwithstanding, the company has made a name for itself by seizing this moment of individual autonomy and greater interest in the creative class. name for itself by seizing this moment of individual autonomy and greater interest in the creative class.
Expanding the Workforce
And now, Fiverr is seeking to further establish its roots in a radically shifting new economy of labor. The business has acquired And Co., a New York-based startup that helps freelancers manage their bevy of client relationships. The startup supplies freelancers and budding entrepreneurs with a more seamless way to collect and manage their needs: intuitive invoice design, finance tracker, payment alerts, calendar integration—even the write and send a letter to a client who has yet to pay, which you can design and send off right from the app. To top it off, it’s all free—music to a freelancer’s ears.
And Co. is a company with the future of freelancing in mind, which makes Fiverr’s acquisition a move that implies the company is focused on becoming a similar beacon of sorts for the freelance community. Micha Kaufman, Fiverr CEO, has announced that he plans to keep the company’s software free of charge. With Fiverr’s name already appearing below the And Co. website logo, this is a sign that this marriage is, so far, in good standing.
The intention isn’t entirely altruistic. Many of And Co.’s features are inherently part of the freelance marketplace, and part of what Fiverr has had to deal with as a separate entity. In many ways, the acquisition of And Co. is something akin to hiring an intuitive HR team wrapped up in a program. Additionally, it would be a way for the company to both reach new freelancers, as well as build loyalty among And Co.’s vibrant and loyal user base.
And Co. Runs Solo
And Co. is, of course, still a small company, acquired while in the early stages of its own development. The company started at the Prehype incubator, which boasts Birchbox and other high-profile startups as having found their footing inside their walls. In 2016, it raised $2 million in a single seed round led by Thrive Capital, making them prime for the pouncing. While the details of the acquisition remain murky, news has spread and the site has already begun running with the Fiverr name under their own. Kauffman has said that And Co. will continue to operate as a separate entity, at least for now, though the entire team will be joining Fiverr effective immediately.
The merging of the two companies is a sign that the freelance economy may shift, but it shows no signs of slowing down. Entire industries are being upended, but the most radical changes are trickling down into the behaviours and expectations of the workers, or Doers as Fiverr has taken to calling them. Perhaps companies will begin incorporating more infrastructure for the Doers, leaning on smart software like And Co.’s as a way of building relationships, reputation—and maybe even becoming Doers themselves.