Spend Matters 50/50: Upwork – A Provider To Watch in 2015

100 companies - 100 days

We announced here and here our two (not ranked) lists: Spend Matters 50 To Know and 50 To Watch firms for 2015/2016. In the first case, this is our view of the 50 solution provider type organisations in the procurement industry that every senior procurement leader should be aware of and understand. The 50 To Watch are the up-and-coming firms  - those with interesting and relatively new solutions for our market. The 50 To Know are the key organisations in our industry that procurement executives need to have on their radar.

Having announced the lists, our US colleagues are now featuring each of the 100 firms in turn with an article giving an overview of each, with some headline Spend Matters thoughts on them. So on this site we will be giving you a brief extract of the US article, plus adding our own comments where we have anything useful to add from a European perspective. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t!

Here is what our US colleagues had to say about Upwork:

"Upwork is the largest work intermediation platform (WIP) business in the world (based on annualized transaction value, currently running at over $1 billion) ... Spend Matters recognizes Upwork as a path-finding company that has demonstrated that platforms can support work arrangements entirely online and on a very large scale. The company has exhibited ongoing agility and innovation over the past 10 years and is positioned – with its vast network of millions of business users and knowledge workers, its significant intellectual property and human capital, its variety of services and capabilities, and its persistent direction to engage with large enterprise contingent workforce supply chains – to become one of the first WIPs that is accepted as a “direct sourcing” option for enterprises worldwide."

You can read more of what our US colleagues have to say here. In terms of Europe, we don't have a lot of experience to add, really. There appears to be an Upwork office in Norway - just where you would choose to put a European office, right at the centre of the Continent (?)  But the website shows "Freelancers in England" as an option, so I looked up blog writers in Aldershot - the nearest town to where I live and work. To my surprise, ten credible people appeared, at rates from £5 to £20 an hour - very impressive.

Around $1 billion goes through the platform annually, which makes poor old UK quoted firm blurGroup with their £4 million revenues and claims to be first movers in services procurement look pretty insignificant. So a serious option certainly in the UK if you are looking for "knowledge workers" - a business to watch in Europe as well as in the US, we suspect.


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