Qwil, founded in San Francisco in 2015 by three experienced entrepreneurs, is now taking its place as one of a number of new specialized gig economy players focused on providing workers with support services. Qwil also provides businesses with a way to relieve a pain point of their independent contractors.
Qwil’s Pain Relief Formula
The chief focus of Qwil, put simply, is “helping independent contractors get paid as quickly as possible.” Getting paid promptly is one of the biggest challenges and pain points independent workers face. Co-Founder and CEO Johnny Reinsch told us that “Qwil addresses the number one pain point experienced by these workers and the companies deploying their labor — easy and immediate cash flow — by providing an end-to-end payments platform designed to meet the rising demands of today’s quickly evolving global workforce and the companies paying them."
But companies that engage independent workers are also realizing that this critical talent, especially when it is highly valued, must be retained. If an independent worker is not getting what he or she needs to do business or even survive (i.e., timely cash flow), then that talent will go elsewhere. So it is in the interest of businesses that rely heavily on independent workers-- but are unable to diverge from their own invoicing and accounts payable processes--to make a third-party payment acceleration service available to its independent workers.
Accordingly, Qwil notes that “its payments platform provides companies with the flexibility to make payments to their contractors, on the invoice cycle of the company’s choice, while giving their independent contractors access to earnings instantly before the close of the invoice cycle.”
Success in Clinical Trials
Qwil says it is not currently focusing on serving “short-gig” workers (e.g. drivers, taskers, etc.), but rather on freelance independent contractors and the companies that engage them. At this time, Qwil reports it is focusing on serving three market segments: businesses that engage creative talent, staffing industry businesses and online platforms that support skilled independent workers engaged by companies.
Qwil provided us with two business customer cases:
- A global IP communications (e.g., voice over IP, video, etc.) platform company was challenged managing their outdated, complex manual payments system to pay their independent contractors from whom they were getting complaints about slow payments and the consequences thereof. Last year, the company set up all of its independent contractors on Qwil, and all of those, at some point in time, have exercised the option to cash-out earnings early. According to the company’s CFO: pain points relieved, an easy win.
- A global creative studio/production company that works with hundreds of independent contractors and freelancers needed to have a way to ensure that its contractors could receive payment in 15 days or less. The company considered other billing platforms but found them lacking in a number of ways, including ease-of-use and high transaction fees. So far, after making Qwil available to its hundreds of freelancers, 25% have used Qwil to cash out earnings early, the managing director of the company said. He noted that companies are largely valued for how they treat the people they work with, and Qwil has helped his company provide a valuable, important service to its valuable creatives.
According to Qwil, its solutions can be set up and integrated through its API and pre-established financial relations in less than a day. Qwil currently charges businesses $1 per payment transaction cycle, while independents are charged “a small transaction fee.”
Spend Matters Perspective
As noted above, Qwil has taken its place as one of number of new, specialized gig economy players that are focused on providing workers with support services. Among these players are Intuit QuickBooks Self-employed (financial and tax accounting), Painless 1099 (estimated tax withholding), Stride Health (access to healthcare), Crowded.com (access to work across multiple platforms). This array of point solutions will eventually have the most value when they are fully integrated together, either as one provider or as a network or digital services ecosystem.
Back in 2015, we described the development of an “independent-worker-facing solution ecosystem.” We argued that “such a worker-support-services ecosystem is essential for the continuing growth of the independent workforce, and it is an indicator of what may an unanticipated acceleration.” We also argued that a complete independent workforce ecosystem would need to extend “from management capabilities for businesses to support services for independent workers.”
In another article, we discussed the emergence of a new digital ecosystem for engaging independent workers wherein many of the components exist or are emerging and are developing to a point where the interconnection of those components can start to occur in the cloud. “The development of a cloud-based ecosystem of interfacing intermediaries,” we reported, “will enable different kinds of engagements with the growing independent workforce. Technologically, we are moving beyond the cloud capabilities of APIs and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) to integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) that will enable greater interconnectedness of entities and even their legacy systems. Consequently, we can expect this new independent workforce ecosystem to develop in very different ways than what we have seen in the existing contingent workforce supply chain or in the non-services procurement sourcing-supplier-purchasing ecosystem.”
To learn more about Qwil, visit http://www.qwil.co.