June 25, 2020

A new player wants to shake up the marketplace for freelance tech talent

A new talent platform aims to help freelancers earn a fair rate by adopting a non-profit model Can it work?

Real talk: Freelance life sucks sometimes.

There’s the constant courting of clients, the too busy/not busy enough paradox, and let’s not even talk about the agony of invoicing.

But a new talent marketplace called Braintrust aims to alleviate some of that pain while lowering the cost of admission.

A new kind of e-lance platform

As Business Insider reports, Braintrust is free for freelance pros like software engineers and U/X designers. Clients pay a fee of 10% for each job invoiced through the platform — significantly less than other marketplaces.

Adam Jackson, Braintrust’s CEO, told us those other companies’ fees aren’t fair to workers — and they’re a waste of money for clients.

Braintrust can keep its fees lower because it operates as a nonprofit organization. Revenues raised will go toward operating costs.

Jackson calls Braintrust a “market system” where talent can bid and clients hire based on a combination of skill, experience, and other factors.

“We want talent to get the fair market rate they deserve and that clients are willing to pay — regardless of where they live,” he said.

The platform has been running in stealth mode since last fall, but companies like NASA, Nestlé, and TaskRabbit already use it. By the most recent count, 500 freelancers have created profiles and 10k are on the waitlist.

Way to own it

One way Braintrust stands out: Eventually, top freelancers and clients will own a piece of the action. The founders are developing a token-based cryptocurrency system that will give people votes in future decisions.

Freelancers and clients will be rewarded with tokens for writing code, assisting with marketing, or referring new clients.

Already, investors want in. Braintrust got an infusion of cash from VCs True Ventures and Homebrew Ventures, who ponied up $6m in exchange for future tokens.

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