Finding the right person to hire for your team, someone who fits company culture and possesses the right skills is a challenge for organisations across the board. This is even trickier when hiring a freelancer, who will only be a part of your business for a short period of time. It is vital to find the right fit and ensure that both employers and freelancers are able to connect with each other and form a strong working relationship, grounded in trust. YunoJuno was founded in 2012, with this aim in mind. Fast forward to today and the demand for freelancers has increased and finding the right fit for a company and individual is even more important, as employees are being interviewed and onboarded virtually. It has been predicted that at least 50% of the US workforce will turn to freelancing by 2027. Erlystage sat down with YunoJuno CEO Runar Reistrup, to speak about his journey, the role the company has played in transforming the freelancer marketplace, and their plans going forward.
YunoJuno entered the market at the right time, to find a solution to all these problems and make the freelancing world more transparent.
Reistrup’s experience in Copenhagen is important as he explains that this is where he ‘stumbled’ into the startup space, where, in the early 2000s, the only startup with Danish links was Skype. One of the founders of Skype was a Danish engineer, and another was investor Morten Lund. Not finding the inspiration he wanted from his career in Financial Services, Resitrup was approached by Tommy Ahlers, an ex-Mckinsey employee who was planning to launch his own startup. The meeting with Ahlers changed Reistrup’s impression of ‘start-up guys’ as he realised that these are the people who are not satisfied with working solely for a large organisation and want to create something of their own. This prompted Reistrup to join forces with Ahlers and Lund to launch Zyb, an early mobile social network site that was acquired by Vodafone in 2008 for the neat sum of around 40m Euros. The acquisition brought Reistrup to London to help integrate the teams of both businesses, and where he later got involved with Venture Capital, which in turn took him to what is now the go-to platform for young people and influencers to sell clothing – Depop.
When Reistrup joined to help run Depop, it did not have a single user in the UK. With Reistrup’s leadership, the company received a million Euros in seed funding and grew to become a dominant player in the secondhand marketplace. Reistrup’s journey took him back into Venture Capital and eventually to YunoJuno, where he started earlier this year as CEO. Speaking about the company, Reistrup states that what attracted him to YunoJuno was that the business was a genuine one, internally and publicly. The freelancer business is one that has been asking for reform for years, as freelancers do not get paid on time and it is difficult for emerging talent to get their foot in the door, as recruiters tend to promote the same people. YunoJuno entered the market at the right time, to find a solution to all these problems and make the freelancing world more transparent. At YunoJuno, freelancers are integrated into the companies they provide their skills to and are paid within 14 days. The company ensures that all those involved in the process, from clients to freelancers, have insurance of up to £100k in legal fees and £100k for taxes, to protect them in regards to IR35 status if needed. The platform, therefore, takes the stress out of having to wait for payment or risk not getting paid at all, by handling this responsibility for freelancers, so that they are able to focus on the work they are hired to do. Although freelancing provides great benefits for both the freelancer and the company hiring them, there can be a risk that the freelancer, who is in high demand, could be working for a competitor as well. However, this can be mitigated by establishing a good relationship, providing interesting work, and being open about expectations from the start. Reistrup is keen to point out that the company is a freelance marketplace and not a gig marketplace, where there is some work that needs to be done and companies look to fill the gap for a temporary period of time with cheaper labour, using people who are usually more junior. Professional freelancers, who make a career and living out of providing their skills to many different projects, are the ones that YunoJuno looks to work with. Individuals are asked for their work history and must have specialist skills, for instance knowing how to run a marketing campaign for a large company, in order to be on-boarded onto the platform. Thus, the freelancer is at the center of the platform. Reistrup explains the similarity between his role at Depop, which aimed to open up the world of e-commerce by putting the shopper and their desire for a specific product at the heart of the platform and where shoppers are interested in where they are receiving their product from. Similarly, with YunoJuno, freelancers and the organisations that they work with have mutual care and respect for each other. YunoJuno also creates a sense of community which can be difficult to find in the freelancer world. Every year, there are freelancer awards, with different categories and the YunoJuno community boasts around 30,000 people who celebrate and help each other. Initially, the company was focused on London but expanded to the rest of the UK and has now opened up to other countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, making it easier for companies to attract talent without being restricted by geography. The company plans to expand further internationally and assess where there is demand in individual markets. They list Upwork as potential competitors and continue to keep their focus on the creative and technology sectors with the aim of growing in that space. YunoJuno’s client base consists of a diverse set of companies like BrewDog, IBM, Accenture and Ogilvy.
Source: YunoJuno. Names have been changed to protect identity
The freelancer economy continues to soar in the wake of the pandemic. It is likely that quality and customer support may be key differentiators for freelance platforms that look to win over clients big and small.