Survey reveals trends in entrepreneurship; online hiring ranks as the most essential cloud-based service for startups

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — March 28, 2011 — Elance, the leading platform for online employment, today introduced Startup Cloud, a new onramp resource that provides proven tactics, best practice strategies and advice to power startups tapping into the human cloud. As part of the Startup Cloud program, Elance is partnering with The Founder Institute to help entrepreneurs find the best talent to build their dream companies. Elance will also be giving away three Startup Kits, which include $500 in Elance services, to get businesses started building their online teams.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, Americans are turning to entrepreneurship more than ever before, pushing the rate of startups to a 15-year high in 2010. One of the biggest game changers for startups in the past 10 years is the emergence of cloud technologies and services that help businesses launch products and services quickly and cost effectively. Elance conducted a survey of 250 small business startups, which revealed a bullish outlook on entrepreneurship and a growing reliance on cloud technologies. Top trends cited by survey participants include:

  • Entrepreneurism is the New Black—The Elance survey revealed that 92% of respondents are optimistic about small business growth in 2011. This entrepreneurial spirit is being celebrated and supported from the White House to Wall Street as a key strategy in driving economic growth.
  • The Cloud is King—The cloud is critical to most startups today, and online hiring topped the list of cloud-based tools and services most important to their companies: Online Hiring (57%), Web Services (44%), File Storage (42%), Online Application Suites (30%), Accounting and Finance (20%).
  • Tapping into the Human Cloud—One of the key challenges facing startups is hiring team members for their organization. Startups embrace online hiring for its cost effectiveness (78%), flexibility (74%) and better candidate information (63%).
  • Help Wanted/Most Wanted—Access to in-demand talent is a key concern for small businesses. Startups reported the most needed, but hardest talents to find and afford are: Web Programmers (42%), Marketing Strategy Experts (28%), Graphic Designers (28%), Online Marketers (24%) and Writers (20%).

Entrepreneurs must identify the right time to bring in experts and delegate key tasks, but also need accessibility to the right talent. Online hiring of freelance talent allows startups to launch their businesses without committing to ongoing overhead expenses. “I had a business idea for a mobile organizer that saves people time and money, and needed to find a team with the right skills to help me build the first product. I sought the advice of fellow entrepreneurs at Harvard Business School on jump starting development, and they all sent me to the same place – Elance,” said Phil Michaelson, CEO of KartMe.com. “With the web programmers and mobile app developers I hired on Elance, I launched KartMe.com only three months after I received my MBA, and investor funding followed soon after. Elance helped me turn my idea into a business.”

“Entrepreneurs are no longer limited by geography, expensive software, office space or by having to make large-scale investments in overhead just to get a prototype or service out to market,” said Ellen Pack, vice president of marketing at Elance. “We are pleased to launch Startup Cloud and equip startup companies with access to resources and skilled talent to help them take their ideas to market more quickly and at a lower cost than ever before.”

Startup Cloud will feature best practices for entrepreneurs in the pre-launch startup phase, as well as those seeking ongoing hiring needs as the company matures and grows. By sharing personal stories from the trenches, startup founders will hear from other business owners on how to effectively scale their staffing to achieve the best results. Visit Startup Cloud at www.elance.com/startup-cloud. The site will include articles, videos and slide shows including:

As part of Startup Cloud, Elance is partnering with The Founder Institute, a startup accelerator with programs in 15 cities worldwide designed to launch 600+ technology companies per year. As part of the partnership, Elance will be helping startups who join the program leverage the human cloud to build their dream companies. Elance will also host a 12-week contest, beginning March 28, 2011. In April, May and June 2011, one winner will be awarded a $500 credit for Elance services that can be applied toward anything from designing a business logo to building a new website or mobile app. Contestants are asked to submit an entry stating how they will use an Elance professional to help build their business. Winners will be selected based on their responses. To enter the contest, click here.

About Elance
Elance, the world’s leading platform for online employment, helps businesses hire and manage in the cloud.

For businesses looking to staff-up a team on an hourly or project basis, Elance offers instant access to qualified professionals who work online. Elance provides the tools to hire, view work as it progresses and pay for results. Elance is faster and more cost-effective than job boards, staffing firms and traditional outsourcing.

For skilled professionals who want to work online, Elance offers access to qualified clients, a virtual workplace and guaranteed pay for great work. Contractors have already earned more than $360 million on the Elance platform.

The company is privately held and headquartered in Mountain View, California. For more information, visit www.elance.com.

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Media Contact:
Carolyn Adams
Borders+Gratehouse
Phone: (415) 963-4174 ext. 4
Email: carolyn@bordersgratehouse.com