Upwork Is Going Public: What It Means for Contingent Workforce Procurement and Human Resources Executives [PRO]

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Upwork’s prospective initial public offering constitutes a significant marker in the steadily evolving contingent workforce and services procurement and the overall human capital management space, where enterprise executives and line-managers are dealing with seriously imbalanced supply and demand, increasing requirements for workforce flexibility and agility, and a parade of new, non-traditional, technology-driven solutions to the problem of “getting the work done.” This is true in a number of ways and at a number of levels.

In September, Upwork, the largest global online freelancer marketplace and the provider of Upwork Enterprise, announced an IPO plan to list its common stock as an emerging growth company on the Nasdaq Global Market.

Its SEC filings revealed a $10 to $12 per-share-price range. Net proceeds from the IPO (after repayment of $16 million in notes) could range, as reported by the California-based company, between $64 million and $74 million and would be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including product development, general and administrative matters, and capital expenditures. Based on the filings, Upwork’s IPO valuation could range from $1 billion to over $1.25 billion (about 5X revenue).

Spend Matters has closely covered Upwork developments for several years. And the Upwork Enterprise solution was recently evaluated and recommended within Spend Matters SolutionMaps for Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) enterprise technology solutions (specifically, in the category of solutions that address independent contract worker (ICW) sourcing, engagement, management and payment).

While this PRO report will draw a number of key points from the trove of new, previously insider-only information about Upwork, readers can access all of those details with one click in the amended Form S-1 filed with the SEC. The purpose of this PRO brief is more to analyze what this event means for executives in contingent workforce and services procurement and HR, many of whom may not be up to speed on changes taking place in the CW/S space — in particular, new types of platform intermediaries that have the potential to substantially enhance an enterprise’s workforce sourcing effectiveness and efficiency, engagement flexibility and structural agility.

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