Revolancer’s First Year in Review
By Karl Swanepoel (CEO & Founder)
Exactly one year ago today, Revolancer was incorporated. Over the past year, we moved quickly from idea to reality. In this article, I cover our key milestones of 2021, split into quarters. I’d like to express enormous gratitude to our incredible team, advisory board, and investors, whom I’ve been very fortunate to work with throughout this past year.
Q1 – Idea, Inception & InvEnterPrize
At the beginning of 2021, we were in full lockdown in the UK. Career prospects were damaged, and conventional work had been shaken up by the pandemic. Having first freelanced online as a teenager, I was aware of the incredible and fulfilling practice of earning online on your terms, flexibly. However, I was equally aware of the big issues the freelance marketplaces had faced for more than a decade – including high fees, unfair treatment of freelancers, and ‘race to the bottom’ competition.
In order to solve this problem, I came up with the idea for a freelance marketplace platform which would treat freelancers fairly, help emerging talent, and above all – maintain a level of quality that would enable our clients to get the best work done efficiently.
After several days of long brainstorming sessions, I realised that in order to start this business, I would need not only help but also capital. Fortunately, upon researching business support that my university had on offer, I found the InvEnterPrize competition, where students could pitch their business idea for a chance of winning several cash prizes to help turn their idea into reality. I knew I had to give it a shot – after all, what was the worst that could happen?
In order to prepare for this competition, I read as much as I could, and reached out to successful entrepreneurs for advice. With the help of these people who kindly offered their time and advice, I was able to develop a solid business plan and pitch.
I was very fortunate to win both main cash prizes in the 2021 InvEnterPrize competition, resulting in £13,000 of seed funding from the University and the Engineers in Business Fellowship, to get my idea off the ground.
The next step was to expand the team, and develop our freelance marketplace.
Q2 – Co-founders, MVP & Magazine
Shortly after winning the 2021 InvEnterPrize competition, I was joined by my two amazing co-founders who shared my vision and enthusiasm for building the next generation of freelancing platforms.
First to join was Skye Brady, a highly talented and experienced developer, who would help bring our idea to reality. Shortly thereafter, Kinga Mijal joined the team as marketing head, with an excellent experience and track record in marketing and management.
At this time, we also founded our advisory board, with Mat Braddy (founding Chief Marketing Officer of Just Eat), and Dan Swygart (founder of Alpacr) joining as strategic advisors.
With three people now on the core team, supported by two fantastic advisors, we started to build our MVP (minimum viable product), and launched the Revolancer Magazine. With Skye working hard on development and Kinga on outreach, we quickly built a waiting list of beta users, ready to join our platform on launch.
Q3 – Beta launch & validation
In summer 2021, we were ready to launch our newly developed platform to our beta testers. This was one of our most exciting times to this point, half a year in the making.
We launched the Revolancer freelance marketplace to superb feedback from our community of beta users, to whom we are very grateful. This initial feedback helped us not only tackle issues raised with the MVP, but also helped us to develop new ideas and features which would make our platform even better for our community.
With a successful beta launch completed and our MVP validated, we started preparing to raise capital to grow the platform and expand our team.
Q4 – Pre-seed round & team expansion
After setting out to raise £150,000, we were very fortunate to secure this amount after less than a week of pitching and a handful of meetings.
The lead investor in our pre-seed round was leading London-based venture capital firm SFC Capital, who were joined by Edward Falzon (former executive director at Morgan Stanley), and later by Edmond Umoh (associate at Goldman Sachs).
This funding has and will continue to enable us to grow Revolancer and our team, and help us in our mission of creating a brighter future for flexible work.
Shortly after funding was secured, we were joined by Ewa Gorka (Design Lead) and Gavin Gilmour (Communications Lead), both of whom have already contributed to huge improvements in our visual and written communication.
2021 was Revolancer’s first year, where we went from an idea to a funded and validated platform, supported by a highly talented and ambitious team, with whom it is a pleasure to work.
We have lots of big plans for 2022. We already kicked the year off with a visual overhaul and rebrand, in collaboration with consultant designer Kevin Mansell-Abell, and are continuing to grow our community, and build tools they love to use and find useful.
Join us in creating a brighter future for flexible work in 2022 by keeping up to date with Revolancer on social media:
Thank you very much for your continued support and for reading this article.
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer