Monday, May 29, 2017

'The World's Most Badass Recruitment Engine' That is Going to Blow Freelance Work Into a New Universe

Pete Johnston's plan to build "the world's most badass recruitment engine" could put a dent in Microsoft's plans to wring money from LinkedIn's 500 million users.

Johnston, a former designer for Google and ad giant M&C Saatchi in London, and his backers, including PayPal co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, are betting that managing contract workers will one day become as valuable to corporations as hiring and paying their own staff.

The start-up, formerly known as Lystable and now renamed Kalo, charges 3 percent of what its customers pay to contractors they hire through the platform. It's a bet on the growth of the freelance economy.

A report out this month from
consulting firm McKinsey suggested that the gig economy will be here sooner than later. The study said 20 to 30 percent of workers in the U.S. and Europe already do "independent work."

For his part, Johnson said that "we know who they are, what they worked on and have access to their financial data."...

He got the idea for the company while sitting in his Dublin apartment in 2014. He'd been working for a Google design unit in London that had just seven staff employees, but used more than 150 freelancers per year.

The process, run on a platform made by "a large enterprise software company" he declined to name, was worse than cumbersome.

Workers often were not paid quickly — and thus not exactly happy when Johnston and his co-workers asked them to come back for another project.

At first, the software was designed to identify workers and assign them tasks.

But those two steps weren't enough, Johnston said, as "the (freelance) process would then go into this dark place" when it came time to pay them.

So the company, then based in London and still called Lystable, built a payment module, started charging a fee, and began signing up customers including Google, Airbnb, Expedia and The Economist.

Soon Johnston, a native of Belfast in Northern Ireland, moved to San Francisco, convinced two marquee investors to back him, and opened a new office in this city's Financial District early this year....

Johnston believes that managing contract workers will become more valuable as their ranks grow, and that "any company that tries to manage them like staff workers is going to run into problems" like those he saw at Google's London office.


1 comment:

  1. After looking at this, it doesn't look like a "recruitment engine" to me. It looks like a "Quickbooks for Contracting". In other words, it looks like it's meant to help companies manage the contractors they already have rather than a way to hire new contractors.