All Things oDesk
December 18, 2013 by Gary Swart

Why did oDesk and Elance decide to merge?
Both companies are leading innovators driving the adoption of online work. Combined, we will have the resources to invest in products and services that serve customers better.

For example, specific expected benefits of the merger include:

  • Significant investments in technology, including tools for more effective online hiring, seamless virtual collaboration, improved mobile accessibility and job skills development.
  • Higher quality results. Combining our engineering and data science expertise will deliver quality improvements including better-matched freelancers for clients and superior job recommendations for freelancers.
  • Accelerated growth and scale. The overall global demand for staffing is enormous and is transitioning online. Combined, the companies will be able to help accelerate this transition.

What is the vision for the new combined company?
Just as Amazon reinvented retail, and Apple iTunes transformed the music industry, together oDesk and Elance will revolutionize the way we work. This merger will create unprecedented freedom for people to find job opportunities regardless of their location, and will allow businesses of all sizes to more easily access the best available talent.

What does this mean for current clients and freelancers on oDesk and Elance?
Both odesk.com and elance.com will for now continue to operate as separate, independent services. Your accounts and profile records will not be impacted.

For clients, you will still be able to hire, manage and pay exactly as you have in the past.

For freelancers, your profile and work history and other aspects of your online reputation will not be affected.

After the merger closes, expect accelerated product and quality innovations that help both oDesk and Elance serve you better.

How are you evolving the two platforms so they become more differentiated?
We are inviting feedback from customers on both odesk.com and elance.com, and will be actively incorporating this feedback into differentiating innovations on the platforms moving forward.

Will there be more competition for good jobs among freelancers as a result of this merger?
As both odesk.com and elance.com will continue to operate as separate, distinct online work marketplaces for now, we don’t anticipate any changes in freelancer competition due to the merger. Our goal is to increase the number of jobs available for freelancers as we attract more businesses to hire online.

How much work is happening on oDesk and Elance?
Freelancers will earn about $750 million on the two sites in 2013.

How does this company fit into the overall market for hiring and staffing?
Global staffing is a $422 billion market (according to Staffing Industry Analysts) that we believe is ripe for reinvention. Online work, any type of work that can be done via the Internet, is an emerging sector within it that SIA predicts will reach $5 billion by 2018.

Who will lead the new company?
oDesk executive chairman Thomas Layton will continue in the same role at the combined company, and Elance CEO Fabio Rosati will serve as chief executive officer.

What will the new combined company be called?
As the merger is not yet complete, it’s too early to say. The name will be announced after the deal closes.

Will any of the features I’m used to go away?
We update our platforms on a regular basis and will continue to do so, but clients will still be able to hire, manage and pay as they have in the past, and freelancers’ profile, work history, etc. will not be affected. Login information will remain the same.

Will there be any change in fees or membership structures?
None are planned.

What’s the timeline for concluding the deal?
The closing of the merger is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, and is expected to occur in the next four months.

Gary Swart

Chief Executive Officer

Gary Swart is the CEO of oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace. Gary is a thought leader in entrepreneurship; how best to hire and manage teams; and the future of work, including online work. He is passionate about helping small businesses thrive, fueled by his extensive experience working with startups and small businesses that use oDesk, as well as by mentoring entrepreneurs and business school… read more