With the gig economy continuing to grow — especially in light of the COVID-19-caused crisis and growing unemployment — a Houston startup has created a portal for companies to access technology-focused freelancers.
FreelancingTeams, co-founded by Raj Kal, allows companies to easily search and find tech professionals for projects — as well as manage that team throughout the work. On the other side of the table, the startup is allowing the country's growing population of freelancers a platform to get picked up for jobs.
"We are changing the way we look at team building," Kal says, noting that a huge percentage of freelancers struggle to find jobs with existing resources.
Not only does FreelancingTeams act as a marketplace for tech talent, but Kal says the platform allows for project management and payment processes. While there are other talent portals — like Fiverr and Upwork — this added capability sets the startups apart from its competition.
"People come in with an idea, and they can do it from start to finish," Kal says, explaining that users don't have to find separate tools to find their team, manage the project, and price and pay for the work.
FreelancingTeams is free for clients to list and staff their projects, and a 10 to 15 percent cut comes out of the freelancer side. However, there is an option for clients to upgrade to a paid subscription option for larger, more complex projects that require additional hands-on management resources from FreelancingTeams.
With its free option, FreelancingTeams has seen a lot of interest from startups looking to build there minimum viable product, or MVP.
"We are working with a lot of startups as a Station Houston partner," Kal says. "We are helping them get their MVP done, so that when they come to our platform, we can work with them to understand the requirements and connect them to their teams."
Betsy Furler, founder of For All Abilities, a Houston-based software company aims to help businesses support employees with ADHD, Dyslexia, learning differences, and Autism, recently used FreelancingTeams to staff her MVP development project. She says using the platform made it easy to manage and test the work the freelancers were doing.
"FreelancingTeams helped me build my MVP quickly and inexpensively," Furler says. "Their quote was much less expensive than the others [I received] and the work was fantastic. Because of the platform, I also spent more time thinking through what features were needed and how to prioritize them, rather than just giving a developer or project manager a list to complete."
Outside of affordably building tech for startups, the coronavirus has greatly affected the workforce with unemployment at a historic high. This has led to an increased interest in freelancing.
"A lot of people are unemployed and are looking for alternative options," Kal says. "Freelancing is a place where we are seeing large growth."
He says he's also observing an increased interest in freelancers from large companies and even retailers who need to upgrade their online presence.
"The COVID situation has brought more challenges to bigger businesses, and they are looking for cost-effective solutions as well," Kal says.
Kal is looking to grow FreelancingTeams, which might include fundraising in the future, he says. For now, the company has a low overhead and uses freelancers on its own site to develop its technology.
"The next step for us is to grow bigger in Houston and then around Texas," Kal says.