Inroad Press

Elance and oDesk Freelance Job Platforms Announce Merger

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Elance and oDesk, both online marketplaces connecting freelancers and jobs, have announced plans to merge. The combined number of freelancers using the two hiring platforms is over 8 million. The company will continue to operate the two websites at elance.com and odesk.com, and maintain separate headquarters, both located in Silicon Valley.

The main benefits of the merger are anticipated to come in combining technological expertise in the areas of job matching, collaboration, and mobile technology. Identifying appropriate matches is critical to customer satisfaction for both freelance job seekers and hiring businesses. Once an engagement is agreed upon, collaboration technology is used to manage communication, track and verify progress, deliver end products, and resolve disputes.

While Elance is the older and more well-funded of the two companies, oDesk is larger in terms of users, with some 5 million freelancers. Elance CEO Fabio Rosati will serve as the CEO of the combined company, with oDesk CEO Gary Swart continuing in an advisory role. A name for the resulting company has not been announced. The merger is expected to close within four months.

With the staffing market generating over $400 billion dollars annually worldwide, there is plenty of room for growth, as the revenue to date for the two companies is $2 billion. U.S. job-seekers, however, quickly discover that in the online freelancing world they are competing with workers from over 170 countries, many offering to work at rates that match their lower cost of living.

Photo: Rafael Rozendaal