Digital freelancing

Fiverr acquires Stoke Talent for $95M, adding freelance management tools for employers to its platform – TechCrunch

Summary

On the heels of LinkedIn last week launching Service Marketplace, a competitor to freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, today Fiverr announced an acquisition that speaks to how it plans to stay in the game by building in more features for its users. Fiverr is acquiring Stoke Talent, which lets companies manage their freelance teams, for $95 million.

Stoke’s toolset includes features to onboard new freelancers; employers can also pay them through the …….

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On the heels of LinkedIn last week launching Service Marketplace, a competitor to freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, today Fiverr announced an acquisition that speaks to how it plans to stay in the game by building in more features for its users. Fiverr is acquiring Stoke Talent, which lets companies manage their freelance teams, for $95 million.

Stoke’s toolset includes features to onboard new freelancers; employers can also pay them through the platform and accordingly track their overall freelance budgets. The idea here is to build tools that both tie in those employers more tightly into Fiverr’s freelance marketplace — Stoke will remain independently operated, but the products also will be integrated, so that freelancers hired via Fiverr can be onboarded and paid through Stoke — and also tie Fiverr more deeply into how those companies work with freelancers overall, even if they are not sourced via Fiverr itself.

Fiverr is now headquartered in New York — it’s publicly traded on the NYSE and is valued at $6.3 billion — but it was founded in Tel Aviv, and that makes it a neighbor to Stoke, which was also founded in the city, by Shahar Erez and Hilik Paz, and it has 30 employees. Stoke had raised just under $20 million, with investors including Battery Ventures and TLV Partners. Its last valuation, according to PitchBook, was around $44 million, representing a small but decent return for investors.

“We share Fiverr’s vision that freelance talent can help propel companies to new heights, both from a productivity and agility standpoint,” said Erez, who is also CEO at Stoke Talent, in a statement. “This is an amazing opportunity to continue doing what we love to do, but on a much larger and broader scale. Together with Fiverr, we have the ability to build an ecosystem where businesses can implement a multichannel freelancer strategy and provide tools for them to efficiently manage not only freelancer engagement on Fiverr’s marketplace, but those off Fiverr’s marketplace as well. There are meaningful synergies between the two companies and we’re excited for what the future holds.”

The deal speaks to how big players in recruitment — namely Microsoft-owned LinkedIn — are working on ways of expanding their business by moving into new and adjacent areas of the employment market. This is in turn driving some consolidation, with larger and established players in freelance services snapping up smaller companies to expand their own platforms, creating more utility and monetizable features in the process.

Fiverr is still well ahead of LinkedIn in the freelancer landscape: Its marketplace covers freelancers from some 160 countries with specialties in more than 500 categories and nine verticals such as graphic design, digital marketing, programming, video and animation; and some 4 million customers have used Fiverr to engage those freelancers. LinkedIn by contrast covers half as many categories (with plans to expand soon to 500), with some 2 million freelancers registered; it’s not disclosing how many customers have engaged their services just yet, and it is …….

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/11/02/fiverr-acquires-stoke-talent-for-95m-adding-freelance-management-tools-for-employers-to-its-platform/