The pandemic accelerated a number of trends and tendencies, like the opportunity of working remotely for a company or opting to be a freelancer and have a big market to offer your services.
Crowd is a Brazilian company founded in 2013 as a digital marketing agency and in 2016 launched a talent platform that connects organizations with marketing and tech professionals. In this interview for Website Planet, Gabriel Matias (CEO and Founder) gave us more insight on how the platform works and why a freelancer should create an account.
Please present Crowd to our audience.
My name is Gabriel and I’m Crowd’s founder and CEO. There are many specialists in digital marketing, such as UX designers, copywriters for any segment of customers, developers for many languages. When I saw this scenario to help companies in digital transformation, I created Crowd to put together great teams for customers.
We create teams according to the customer’s demand. For example, I can make a job for a customer, who only pays for our structure. We can put together a technology or technology structure team for them, charging hourly rates contracts for part or full-time professionals like developers or designers.
So, the great vision of Crowd is that we can create great things with the top 3% of professionals in days, not months, for customers.
So, you not only connect the professional with the company, but also take a more hands-on approach and create the team already?
Yes, Crowd is positioned in the middle. For example, Crowd is cheaper than advertising agencies and has a high price that you contract a freelancer directly. We have a platform with more than 20,000 professionals and we use technology + human touch to match freelancers and customers.
I provide the services to outsource work, so I allocate the professional to do a job or hourly contract and a customer success monitor that follows the process and guarantees its success.
If the match is not good and the customer needs to change the professional, the customer success unit changes the professional to guarantee the quality of Crowd’s service. It’s a premium service, different from services like Upwork and from advertising agencies, to which you pay a lot for structure and professionals. With us, you just pay for the professional and the team to curate and outsource with great quality.
Hybrid work and companies looking for freelancers for their projects is more common nowadays, especially after the pandemic. Did you notice an increase in demand in the last couple of years or was it a steady growth?
Yes. In the first year of the pandemic, 2020, we grew a lot and in 2021 we stabilized. Now, we’ve just doubled our performance. Before the pandemic it was difficult to close contracts with customers in the digital environment.
Crowd’s office was based in Sao Paulo and customers liked to visit it. Now it’s easier to make a video call and close a contract online, for example. Also, we now have a lot of professionals working remotely, which is very good for us to make the match and talk to them during office hours.
When companies reach you, what are their main concerns and issues? What are they looking for in your service?
There are two approaches. In one of them, customers tell us their demand for developers, which are hard to find now. Then, there’s the demand for UX designers, copywriters and media professionals to make digital advertisement,
In the second approach, many customers send us a request for social media services, articles for blogs or Google Ads campaigns. So, there is demand both for professionals and for services in marketing and technology, for example.
In your opinion, what are the biggest benefits for a company when it hires freelancers using a service like Crowd to connect to talents all over the world?
Firstly, it is more cost-effective. Our prices are lower than those from any agency in the market and we present great professionals to allocate for customers. So, we currently have 21,000 professionals and allocate just 600 of them for our customers. So, both the cost and quality are very attractive because the customer only pays for structured customer services and not for a project manager.
Why should a freelancer create an account on your platform and prioritize it over a competitor?
We present them with a lot of work opportunities for great brands and big companies, such as BMW, Mitsubishi and BR Malls. Another difference from other platforms is the customer fills in a briefing in Crowd’s platform and it matches their demand with professionals through an algorithm.
So, the freelancer is in their house and the opportunity may reach them, which is a great difference. Our focus is to connect great freelancers with companies and not the cheapest proposal of freelancers with customers. So, it’s totally different from other platforms.
Since you started, what were your biggest challenges?
I think the world moves very fast, so the way to do something today is totally different from doing the same thing six months in the future. The professional needs to study daily to get updated and do their best. I think this is a big challenge.
At this moment, we are launching Crowd Academy. It’s totally free and built on the platform. We selected excellent professionals to take lessons or courses on the platform and train other professionals so that they grow.
What are Crowd’s next steps for the following 2 to 3 years?
Currently, we are working on connecting more professionals. So, improving the community for professionals, talking more to them and growing together. The Academy is a great investment of ours right now.
Another thing is that we are working towards doing a M&A in the next three years. It would be another opportunity to grow with a strategic partner.