Today we continue on the path towards creating a unified community. As we wind down Elance and projects move to Upwork, here are some thoughts from CEO Stephane Kasriel.
After months of planning, we now begin the process of winding down Elance and migrating this important community over to join our new Upwork platform. Our goal is to create one unified and cohesive community.
We’ve mentioned this upcoming transition before, but today we’re announcing specific details (see the timeline below) along with important updates to ease your move. The transition will happen gradually over the next several months, and Upwork has a plan in place to make it as seamless as possible.
First, however, I want to personally express that I make this announcement with mixed emotion. Like you, many of us have had a long and happy history with Elance. At the same time, I’m excited that our entire team can now focus completely on improving a single online workplace.
The importance of the Elance community.
As I shared previously, with Upwork we’re building upon a strong foundation that began with Elance and oDesk. I’m excited for you to be a part of Upwork as we continue to grow the number of online opportunities for freelancers. I appreciate your great work and hope you’ll experience even more success and see better innovation on Upwork.
What can you expect as we transition Elance to Upwork?
Freelancers and Companies on Elance: You’ll have the option of copying your profile and reputation over to Upwork. If you haven’t yet received your invitation, a personalized invite will be sent to you for this migration. This includes all active members of Elance who are in good standing.
Fees on Upwork: For any new contract started on Upwork, if you’ve worked with that client or freelancer previously on Elance, you’ll be charged at the same rate you were on Elance. Learn more about the Upwork service fee.
Connecting with new and existing clients: By bringing your existing credentials and reputation over to Upwork, we’re making it easy for Elance and Upwork clients to find you.
Clients working on Elance: We’ll make it easy to continue working with your current freelancers from Elance—you can find and rehire them from your My Jobs page on Upwork. We’ll also provide you with new possibilities as you take advantage of new Upwork features like our real-time collaboration tool and mobile apps to explore new talent available on Upwork.
Here are additional notes, timelines, and links to more information:
When will you need to join Upwork? We’ll be redirecting new Elance freelancer and client signups to Upwork in August. Starting in September, we’ll begin to limit the ability to post new jobs on Elance. The Elance site will remain open for you to continue working on your existing contracts through early 2016. When you see an opportunity to close an existing contract, please begin your next contract on Upwork.
What if I haven’t received my invitation to Upwork yet? Invitations to join Upwork are still being sent. Don’t be concerned if you haven’t yet received one. It should arrive before September 1, and if you miss the email, your invitation will be available via your My Jobs page on Elance.
How can I learn more? We’ll give you additional details as we get closer to key dates. In the meantime you can learn more about our plan for Elance, plus how to migrate to Upwork, here.
I know that with anything new there can be some apprehension. But by working together in unison, we can build one unified Upwork community that delivers more innovation and fuels more work opportunities. As always, our ultimate goal remains to make you as successful as possible.
If you haven’t checked out Upwork’s Hiring Hub yet, now is a good time to visit.
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Learn about everything from web development and design, to marketing strategies and advice for making your app idea a reality. You’ll also find tips on how to create the perfect profile and ways to shape your success. Check it out.
I’m thrilled to announce an important update for the Elance-oDesk Community. Today, we took a huge step in the evolution of our business by relaunching oDesk as Upwork.
Last year Elance merged with oDesk—a platform much like Elance. We recently shared that we’ll focus innovation on oDesk, with the ultimate goal of moving to one combined platform. Well that time is now and we can’t wait to start this next chapter with you.
Elance is now an Upwork company.
The Elance site will remain unchanged in the immediate future. In the coming months, we plan to release many new innovations on Upwork in these key areas:
Faster hiring.To accelerate hiring, we’re making it easier for freelancers to update their availability and for businesses to find, interview and select freelancers who are ready to work right away.
Better collaboration.We’re making work simpler and more productive. A new messaging experience will include chat and video, plug into your favorite services, and organize conversations into chat rooms. Plus, you’ll be able to access your teams through native Android and iPhone apps.
Larger teams. Shared team workspaces will make it easier for multiple freelancers and clients to collaborate. Businesses can create and engage large freelance teams quickly, safely, and in compliance with Upwork Enterprise.
Professional growth. Upwork will be a platform where independent professionals can thrive. With access to work history stats, the ability to earn Top Rated status, and information on high-demand skills, freelancers will have the tools to get more and better jobs.
We’re also making it easy to bring your Elance profile to Upwork. We will share additional information as we extend invitations over the next few months. We’ll keep you posted as we transition to a single platform. In the meantime we won’t be adding innovation to the Elance platform—although our teams will continue to support Elance and provide you with a high quality experience.
You may also be wondering about the new name. With an exciting and limitless future in mind, we chose Upwork to better convey our vision and represent our current and future community. It’s a name that inspires us and we hope it will inspire you as well.
I’m excited to step into the CEO position at Upwork, and I invite you to join in the conversation in our community and to find answers to your questions. If you have feedback for us or have questions about our new platform we would love to hear from you at email@example.com.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about upcoming initiatives and announced a new era of innovation for our company with the goal of becoming the premier online workplace for professionals. Today, I write to share the news of a leadership transition at Elance-oDesk. I have identified a talented leader, Stephane Kasriel—who knows our business, loves what we do, and cares about our community—to be my successor as chief executive officer.
As many of you know, I have led our company for more than a decade. While the ideal length of a CEO’s tenure is up for debate (see this article and this one), all companies benefit from renewal and the occasional self-disruption. I love this team and the job so much that I would never want to leave, yet I have been thinking about succession plans since before the merger of Elance and oDesk.
In Stephane, I see both business vision and technological brilliance: he is an exceptional leader who is passionate about our mission and has the respect of the entire team. As SVP Engineering and Product, Stephane has driven many of the innovations we will soon unveil. He has achieved them by leading a global team of 300 product managers, designers, and engineers—many of whom are members of our amazing freelance community. From this role, Stephane understands first hand not only our technology, but also how to best work with professionals around the world.
Before joining us, Stephane held executive roles at PayPal as Global Head of PayPal Consumer Products, Global Head of Mobile Business Development, and Managing Director of PayPal France. He also founded and co-founded multiple companies, holds 15 web-related patents and has an MBA from INSEAD, an MS in Computer Science from Stanford, and a BS from Ecole Polytechnique in France. I could not be more confident in Stephane’s ability to lead us. For more information see our press release here.
You may be asking, “Why now?” Our company is at its strongest. We have a clear strategy and the resources to execute, including an exceptional team, great customers, and premier investors. Elance-oDesk is a company with an important mission: to provide a workplace for the world. We are the future of work. Our potential for impact and growth is huge—we still have 99% of the market opportunity ahead of us.
We have been working on some very exciting stuff, and there will be more specifics on our company’s next chapter coming within a few weeks. I wanted Stephane to own our new chapter from its first page. I take great pride in handing the reins to someone as passionate about our community as I am. Stephane has the brains, heart, and compass to make this next chapter a monumental one for you. But most importantly, Stephane is committed to creating a better future for work.
My number one priority now is to campaign for Stephane’s and your success. I am looking forward to assuming the role of board member, shareholder, and user. There will not be any substitute for the experience of working here with you and I am humbled to have served such a diverse, talented, and special community. On behalf of the 300 employees and more than 500 freelancers who make up the Elance-oDesk team, thank you for being my inspiration.
Since our beginning, Elance-oDesk has focused on matching top professionals to create great working relationships.
Today we’re excited to announce that we’ll be taking those relationships to the next level, as we expand to include online dating.
“We have the best matching technology in the world,” notes our SVP of product and engineering Stephane Kasriel. “But it became clear to our data science team that we could also leverage these algorithms for even greater social impact. Specifically, to help our community find soul mates as well as ideal work colleagues.”
However, unlike traditional online dating services that pair people using outdated and often-frivolous interests such as hobbies, pets, sports teams or other leisure pursuits, our new matching solution is focused on professional interests, careers, and what we do best: Skills. “A mutual interest in twerking or fermenting kimchi can sustain a relationship for a few months,” points out SVP of marketing Rich Pearson. “But a shared passion for WordPress or iOS development will form a lifetime bond.”
A logical evolution.
This new offering should come as no surprise to our established clientele, as we’ve long encouraged a healthy work-life balance. “Many in our community are so passionate about work, they often forget to stop and smell the roses,” adds SVP of operations Elizabeth Tse. “Now, on a single platform, people can reach professional milestones in the afternoon, and dating milestones later that same evening.”
Early reviews of our new online dating service show that the offering is warmly received by community members. This includes a handful of professionals participating in our beta program, which launched this past Valentine’s Day.
One notable success story is Berlin-based Oskar Holstein and Shobha Chowda of Mumbai, who we recently matched online. He a web designer and she a web developer, the match has been mutually rewarding. “We complete each other,” says Shobha. Adds Oskar, “Only the most sophisticated matching algorithms understand that when it comes to this crazy little thing called love, sometimes opposites attract.”
Although Oskar and Shobha haven’t yet connected in person, they continue to spend quality time in the secure online “Hangout” we provide. Like our secure online Workrooms, each Hangout features the tools and resources needed for great communication and long-lasting partnerships. This includes video chatting, translation services, and even prenuptial agreements should the relationship advance.
An equally logical evolution of our name and brand.
Although we’ll naturally continue to focus on matching professionals to create amazing working relationships, this new emphasis on online dating has also led us to do some soul searching about our name. While Elance-oDesk is technically correct, the name fails to inspire our community and address our growing emphasis and passion.
With this in mind, we’re equally thrilled to announce that we’ve officially renamed our company Elove-oDate. This new name pays tribute to our past, our future, and our ongoing commitment to connecting people who are searching for great work and great relationships.
You’ll begin to see exciting additions to the Elove-oDate platform soon. This includes new profile pages and client overviews—each expanded to list your relationship status, song you’re currently listening to, and even your favorite Work From Home Wardrobe. You’ll also find photo enhancement tools like red-eye removal, as well as the ability to send a “Happy Hour Flirt” or “Working Now? Wink” to a colleague’s inbox.
We hope you’ll enjoy these added online dating features, and that you’re as excited as we are about this new option for making truly meaningful connections. As summarized by CEO Fabio Rosati: “Now, regardless of whether you’re searching for a work partner or a life partner, we can help. And that’s our passion here at Elove-oDate.”
Editor’s note: Yes, a quick peek at your calendar confirms that today is April Fools’ Day, and that this blog post is in jest. In case you’re not familiar with April Fools’ Day, it’s a kinda-sorta holiday in many countries, where folks celebrate by playing practical jokes and hoaxes on each other. We couldn’t resist!
An important update from Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance and oDesk, about the company vision and what it means for our community in 2015 and beyond.
Dear Elance Community,
Since the merger last year, I’ve spent every moment thinking about our amazing professional communities and the future of online work. Advancements in technology and data science are transforming how we connect, share, collaborate and learn. The freelance economy is growing exponentially — each year more businesses hire freelance professionals and more people choose freelancing as a career. We are heading towards a new online meritocracy, a connected workplace where everyone can access economic and professional opportunities.
While we already are the largest online workplace, there is a great deal more for us to do to become the world’s premier online workplace for professionals.
The work we do daily to meet the rapidly evolving needs of our community — upgrades to our platform as new technologies become available, scaled operations to better serve everyone as our community grows, and continued investments to engage more clients and top talent — is not enough. To realize our vision of becoming the premier online workplace for professionals we need to innovate at an even faster pace.
Over the next several months you will begin to see many new initiatives:
· Improvements to how clients and freelance professionals meet each other, including better matching and
· New collaboration and productivity tools for both desktop and mobile devices
· More resources to measure quality, screen jobs and help our community succeed
· Expanded customer service to provide fast, friendly and reliable support
· And so much more based on your input and a large number of R&D efforts
We are eager to bring these improvements to you. To accelerate innovation we will focus the majority of these initiatives on one of our platforms, oDesk. Members of the Elance community will be able to experience the improvements via a bridge we are developing between the two online workplaces. Within a year or two we will have a new platform where everyone will access the latest innovations at the same time.
I’ll continue to share our progress towards our vision over the coming months.
My daily thoughts remain focused on building the best possible online workplace for high quality clients and top freelance professionals. On behalf of the 300 employees and over 500 freelancers who make up the Elance-oDesk team, thank you for being our inspiration.
As we wrap up 2014, Elance-oDesk has released a year-end data report – the 2014 Global Online Work Report. It reveals insights ranging from hot skills to today’s state of online work, and is geared towards helping freelancers and businesses plan for an even more successful year ahead.
Feel free to dig deeper, but here are five eye-opening takeaways:
1. Steep gains in Customer Service. The fastest growing position (by freelancer earnings, worldwide) is Customer Service, up 92% for the year.
2. Steady ascent of Mobile. The fastest growing work category by freelancer earnings is Mobile (up 43% globally for the year … including 76% in the U.S.).
3. QA Testing hits new highs. Worldwide, QA Testing is the hottest job based on total projects posted (up 147% for the year).
4. Swift rules stateside. In the U.S., Swift-based jobs are the hottest – based on total jobs posted (up 150% for the year).
5. Freelancer earnings escalate dramatically. Global earnings continue to rise, as professionals approach the $1 billion mark in 2014 earnings (helping add up to a grand total of over $3.2 billion earned on Elance-oDesk all time).
One of the most satisfying aspects of working at Elance-oDesk is knowing that what we do here makes a difference in the lives of clients and freelancers around the world. Which is why I am thrilled to unveil our 2014 Annual Impact Report—a look at how online freelancing has transformed the way we work, leading to greater fulfillment and freedom for all.
When it comes down to it, this report is about you—your stories and your success. I hope you’ll take a moment to read through and feel proud to be a member of this dynamic and inspirational community.
It’s a real challenge today finding great benefits at an affordable price. Especially for U.S. freelancers, who unfortunately can’t tap into bulk packages of corporate America.
That’s why Elance-oDesk is excited to further expand our partnership with Freelancers Union – the nation’s largest labor institution representing 250,000+ independent workers. Today we’re teaming with the organization to announce their open enrollment for benefits, including:
Freelancers Union has formed exclusive partnerships with benefits providers, negotiating flexible, low-cost benefits honed towards independent workers. These programs are easy to enroll in (there’s no eligibility requirements) plus there’s no “joining fee.” And because Freelancers Union is a non-profit organization, all income collected from benefits are reinvested in advocacy, education and services for freelancers.
If you’re not familiar with Freelancers Union, the organization itself is free to join too. They offer many additional and exclusive discounts, plus an online community of fellow freelancers ready to exchange ideas and help your build your network and find work.
Attend a benefits webinar on Wednesday November 19.
The Freelancers Union team will host a free webinar this Wednesday, outlining benefit options and answering your questions. RSVP to attend and discover how Elance-oDesk and Freelancers Union are partnering to build a better future for freelancers.
Here’s a quick announcement from our Partnerships Marketing Manager, Aleksandra Sasha Markova.
Elance-oDesk is excited to co-sponsor a fun and dynamic new hackathon that knows no boundaries. Literally.
For the first time ever be part of an exclusively virtual big time hack -- whether you’re in a high tech hub or a beachside hot tub. Simplyenter the Global Virtual Hackathon and do your magic from wherever you are.
You’ll compete online for $18,000 in cash prizes from organizerKoding. Plus the top Elance-oDesk team will earn an additional $2,500, with other sponsors offering more prizes too. It’s also a great opportunity to show off your skills and make your mark in the global community of developers.
Enter as a team, or as an individual programmer or developer.
Sign up now as the application deadline is November 21 (the hack itself is December 6-7), and the competition is limited to 1,000 teams.
Each team will consist of up to five coders and/or developers. If you’re a talented individual looking for a team to hook-up with, you can easily connect through the hackathon’s website. Your specific hack will focus on one of several available themes (which will be announced soon), but think timely topics such as global finance, climate change, education, healthcare, travel and such.
Elance-oDesk is thrilled to help usher in distributed engineering.
The Global Virtual Hackathon is another example of how work is moving online. We’re proud to support our community of developers, and to be a major force in bringing work to talented people wherever they are.
We’re also proud that oDesk Co-Founder Odysseas Tsatalos will be a hackathon judge, joining reps from Fortune 100 and innovative tech companies, as well as noted investors and journalists.
Hackathon organizers report that over 4,000 programmers and developers from around the globe have already signed-up for the event. Soregister today and get ready to impress the judges and the world with your coding talents, no matter where you hack from.
Aleksandra Sasha Markova, Elance-oDesk Partnerships Marketing Manager
As Partnerships Marketing Manager, Sasha develops industry partnerships and marketing plans that introduce more businesses and freelancers to the benefits of online work. Prior to joining Elance-oDesk Aleksandra co-founded Blackbox, a seed stage accelerator focused on helping non-U.S. startups. Originally from Russia, she now lives in the Bay Area. Follow Sasha @Lady1337.