18/10/2018 – Gobi Partners, a venture capital firm headquartered in Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur, has led a US$4.8 million Series A funding in Southeast Asia-focused online freelancing platform Fastwork.
For Gobi Partners, this investment in Fastwork is the first to be deployed from its recent US$10 million Agung Fund that targets early-stage startups in Indonesia.
The round was also joined by other investors including Singapore’s Vickers Venture Partners, US-based Partech Partners, and Japanese messaging app’s investment arm Line Ventures.
Fastwork did not elaborate on its plans for the fresh funds, only stating that it aims to launch new products and new markets. With the latest round, Fastwork’s external funding now accumulates at US$5.5 million.
Founded in 2015 by a group of engineers and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and New York, Fastwork is an online freelancing startup with operations in Thailand and Indonesia.
“SMEs are growing at an unprecedented pace in the region’s emerging markets, and as a result, there’s a lack of skilled talent to support their growth. Thus, freelancing platforms, like Fastwork, are heavily sought after for their ability to bridge between SMEs and freelancers/ outsourcing agencies,” explained Gobi venture partner Arya Masagung.
Fastwork connects companies, mainly SMEs, with over 3,000 freelancers who are experts in 50 different categories such as software development, design & illustration, content marketing, web development, and video editing.
Unlike other freelancing sites, the platform operates to protect both sides of the marketplace. For freelancers, the platform enables them to collect payments, promote their services, manage their orders.
Besides, freelancers never have to do free work. For as long as they complete their projects according to agreed requirements and on time, they will be compensated no matter what.
Clients, on the other hand, are also assured of a secure transaction. Not only does Fastwork vet the freelancers on its sites through background checks and a rating system, but it also provides escrow services, which hold the payment until the client marks the work as satisfactory
“There are a few players in Thailand but no one would take the responsibility of escrowing the customer’s money until the freelancer delivers the work, or ensuring the quality of their freelancers,” said Fastwork’s co-Founder Vasa Iamsuri.
“They think it’s too much of a hassle and when something goes wrong, they would be liable for it. This leaves a bad taste for everyone who walks into this space. Fastwork is instilling trust back into the community.”
The startup claims to have grown 1,100 percent in revenue since December 2017 and is currently employing more than 50 people in Indonesia and Thailand.
Recently, it launched Fastwork Pro and Fastwork Enterprise — both premium services where the top one percent of their best-performing freelancers/agencies are selected to offer high-quality services and work on large-scale projects to users who are in the growth stage of their businesses.