Odesk re-brands itself as Upwork in a very suspicious manner. Usually when Odesk is making a change, even maintenance, it alerts everyone beforehand. Yet today (May 5, 2015), their servers were down for more than 2 hours and when they came back up, they had renamed themselves UpWork. I thought they had been hacked. Why not take your user base into confidence beforehand? Why the secrecy? Why the name change? Is the merger with Elance in trouble? Time will tell.
Some nuggets from Upwork’s new CEO Stephane Kasriel:
- He says that currently its platform generates $1 billion worth of jobs. Since Upwork takes a 10 percent cut, that means its revenues are around the $100 million mark.
- Kasriel adds - "Still, there is a lot of room to grow: the company estimates that the contractor job market is worth some $1 trillion annually, something that Upwork hopes to tackle with its existing network covering 180 countries and some 2,700 skills". Kasriel says "the aim in the next six years will be to grow the value of jobs filled on its platform to $10 billion".
- The company says that today there are some 50 million freelancers in the U.S. alone. “This is a mainstream business,” Kasriel says. And that will inevitably lead the company down the road to other kinds of products and services to meet that audience.