SOURCE: Elance - oDesk

Elance - oDesk

November 25, 2014 09:30 ET

Elance-oDesk Releases 2014 Annual Impact Report, Showing Social and Economic Impacts of Online Work, and Announces $30 Million in Funding Led by Benchmark

Economic Impact: Professionals Around the World Expected to Reach a Landmark $900M+ in Annualized Earnings via Elance-oDesk in 2014; Social Impact: Elance-oDesk Freelancers Share Stories of Collaboration Across Borders and Report Greater Work Fulfillment Than Other Professionals

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - November 25, 2014) - Elance-oDesk, the world's largest online workplace, today released its 2014 Annual Impact Report. The report includes new research on the work fulfillment of online freelancers and showcases how businesses of all sizes around the world -- from Singapore to Sydney to Seattle -- collaborate with teams of freelancers. It also demonstrates how the ability of these freelancers and businesses to work together via the Internet ("online work") is providing access to job opportunities for many who may otherwise struggle to earn income. 

Social Impact
The report includes findings from a new study on work fulfillment which shows that freelancers on Elance.com and oDesk.com say they are more fulfilled than other professionals, as determined by 12 factors including: time for creative or strategic thinking, opportunities to challenge oneself, high relative income, work/life balance, and control over one's own career path.

"At its core, perhaps the most uplifting aspect of online work is the ability to provide access to work and income opportunities for skilled professionals, including some who have been historically marginalized," said Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance-oDesk. "We recognize that talent is distributed equally around the world, but opportunity is not."

People benefiting from online work include those who are thriving thanks to the newfound flexibility to work whenever and wherever they prefer, as well as those living in struggling economies and/or rural communities, retired professionals enjoying contributing their expertise on projects, individuals with disabilities that prevent commuting or working traditional jobs and many taking care of children or other family members.

Community members featured in the report include Austin Church, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based mobile app agency founder and new dad who gets work with global clients and sources freelance talent on oDesk; Catherine Quiambao, a brand marketing expert who overcame a disability through physical therapy paid for by her oDesk earnings; and Boris Hegedis, who avoided unemployment plaguing his native Serbia by working as a front-end developer and designer on Elance. "I feel like I work abroad but live in Serbia. Although I live here, most of my clients are in Australia and the United States," Hegedis said.

Economic Impact
"The future of entire nations will depend on how well they adapt to the new era of work," Rosati said. "The ability to connect online represents an opportunity to reimagine how people work. It's our mission to create economic and social value on a global scale, by providing a trusted online workplace to connect, collaborate and succeed."

The report brings to life the growing economic impact of the Elance-oDesk community:

  • Freelancers are earning more than $900 million annually.
  • Businesses are posting 2.7 million jobs and conducting nearly 100 million searches for over 2,600 skills.
  • The Elance-oDesk community has expanded to 180 countries.

Expanding Opportunities for Professionals Around the World
Elance-oDesk is a global community of more than 13 million professionals and businesses, with offices in the U.S. and Europe. Company representatives in two dozen countries help local communities learn how to tap into online work opportunities. Elance-oDesk will be launching new regions in 2015 and is collaborating with organizations including the World Bank, The Rockefeller Foundation, World Economic Forum and SamaUSA, to help extend online work to areas around the world with high unemployment and to people, such as disadvantaged youth, who would otherwise have limited access to job opportunities.

$30 Million in New Elance-oDesk Funding, Led by Benchmark, Fuels Online Work Opportunities
To help realize this mission, Elance-oDesk also announced a $30 million over-subscribed round of funding led by Benchmark, with participation from additional existing major shareholders including T. Rowe Price, FirstMark, Sigma West, NEA and the Stripes Group.

"We first invested in oDesk back in 2006 because we saw the potential for the company to reinvent the way people work. Since then, Elance-oDesk has gone on to prove the demand for a global platform for online work, and its continued growth keeps us excited about the opportunity they're creating for freelancers and businesses everywhere," said Kevin Harvey, General Partner, Benchmark.

See the infographic for highlights from the Annual Impact Report.

Read the 2014 Elance-oDesk Annual Impact Report here.

About Elance-oDesk
Elance-oDesk is creating the world's largest online workplaces. Cumulatively, 3.7 million businesses and 9.3 million freelancers have tapped into www.Elance.com and www.oDesk.com to access talent via the Internet.

As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, talent -- like software, shopping and communications before it -- is shifting to the cloud. This shift is making it faster and easier for businesses to hire for the skills they need, when they need them, while freeing professionals from set time and place work.

Freelancers are earning more than $900 million annually via Elance and oDesk. Elance-oDesk is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in San Francisco, California, and Oslo, Norway.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES

FREELANCERS

"Here I am 60 years old, and life is getting better and better… I do the jobs because I love them, and I only do projects if I want to do them." - Stan Smith, Algorithm Scientist in Bradenton, Florida

"While recovering [from Guillain-Barré Syndrome], I relied on others for absolutely everything. So I was ready to get back to work, and to enjoy self-sufficiency as soon as I was physically able… I found my heart in freelancing. And I'm not going back to a 9-to-5 job -- ever. With the money earned on oDesk, we were finally able to buy our own home." - Catherine Quiambao, Brand Marketing Expert in Manila, Philippines

"Nothing was under my control. Even while I was working, I never felt secure. With nepotism and political favors prevalent, I could be replaced at the whim of anyone above me… My family and I recently discussed whether I should return to full-time employment. We all agreed that 'never ever' would be a good time." - Boris Hegedis, Web Programmer in Novi Sad, Serbia

"Online work has changed my life. I earn three times what I could otherwise make. I also remain here in Khulna, which has a lower cost of living and is ideal for freelancing." - Nazmul Hossain, Web Programmer in Khulna, Bangladesh

"Fresh out of college, I couldn't envision myself wasting five years doing mindless work…I didn't want an unsatisfying career. And I didn't want to commit to one place -- either one company or one location. I wanted to make my own decisions." - Rocco Baldasarre, Founder of Zebra Advertisement and #DigitalNomad from via Parma, Italy

"I didn't really like the corporate life anyway. My life was boring and I was waiting for something exciting to happen." - Bernard Vukas, Microsoft Office Business App Developer and #DigitalNomad who went traveling and "not wanting to put clients on hold, I made use of my time between stops to accomplish work. Things went smoothly, and suddenly location was completely irrelevant to my ability to make a living."

"Who would have thought that moving to an island paradise would make me more productive? [Working online] we've eliminated traffic. This leaves us tons of time to relax and explore. Pinch me!" - Sondra Orozco, Product Manager for @Elance-oDesk

BUSINESSES

"Sometimes we get very large projects that take a few months. Without @Elance, we wouldn't have the scalability or nimbleness to deliver… I think as we see more #blendedteams on different time zones, there's going to be a blurred line between office hours and home hours. And I'm ready for it." - Erling Loken Andersen, Founder of @OMEGADigitalMed

"Freelancers have allowed us to achieve things that would have been impossible otherwise." - Beth Granai, Cofounder of @OuttatheParkEats

"I really like that freelancers have quantifiable review on oDesk. Even when interviewing in person, it can be very hard to separate the talent from the talkers." - Alex Depledge, Cofounder of @hassle

"Our own international backgrounds have made us very comfortable hiring and working with people from all over the world." - Daniel Ishikawa, Cofounder of @minute-rent

"I simply couldn't guarantee a 24-hour turnaround time without my team of Elance graphic designers who work while I sleep." - Holly Cardew, Founder of @pixc

"From day one, freelancers were our blueprint for success... Without remote teams we could never achieve our lofty goals." - Heini Zachariassen, Founder of @vivino

"It became obvious that online freelancers were our only option for technical talent… My team is 100% distributed. My cofounders spend half their time in St. Pete, I'm usually in Moscow, and our tech lead is a digital nomad." - Nina Zavrieva, Cofounder of @Channelkit

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