Whether you're a creative looking for a gig or an employee hoping to hire for one, it can be hard to connect with the job you need. Typical marketplaces, from Craig's List to Upwork to Fiverr, are swamped with hucksters or low-rent offers. Which is what Twine hopes to fix.
Twine, an online marketplace for creative freelancers in design, music and film, recently launched a new initiative designed to bring quality to the gig economy: They'll be manually curating the right creatives for each task in order to efficiently pair high-quality jobs with high-quality workers.
I chatted with the founder and CEO of the company in order to learn more about just what Twine brings to the freelance table.
Lack of Quality Scares People Away From the Gig Economy
Twine's approach is to review every freelancer's pitch before sending it to the company who posted the project's original brief. It keeps the companies happy, since they'll only see the worthwhile pitches, and it keeps the freelancers satisfied, since Twine will give them “active feedback” on each rejected pitch.
“Currently there is a gap in the market for quality creative freelancers,” CEO and founder Stuart Logan told me, “Other platforms try to differentiate on price, with their main message being ‘get shit done quick and cheap.' We want our customers to ‘get shit done right.' Quality is the main reason people are apprehensive to use freelance marketplaces. We solve this.
We deeply care about the creative industry. For example, creatives can post “collaboration briefs” to find other likeminded freelancers to work with and build their skills. Also, when someone publishes their completed project they credit the people that contributed to it. The project is then automatically added to everyone's portfolio – giving everyone the recognition they deserve. The credit where credit is due. We really want to support the creative industry rather than take advantage of it.”
But Can Manual Curation Scale?
One issue faced by those who attempt to manually curate online bids is the difficulty of scaling the process. Manual labor can't scale at the pace that the tech community often pushes for. But Logan isn't concerned.
“We manually choose the pitches that get sent to our buyers. We then give specific feedback to the pitches we decline. What was surprising to us was how many similar issues arise,” he said. “For example, a creative might not have any relevant work displayed in their portfolio or there isn't enough information in the pitch. This means we can respond quickly to similar issues (we have some great custom Slack tools we made).”
In the future, he added, Twine may well incorporate automation in addition to the manual curation:
“Furthermore, we can learn from these pitches and add machine learning techniques to automate a big portion of this. However, we do feel some manual curation is key to ensuring we deliver a quality service that others will not compete with.”
Investor seem happy with the process: Twine has just closed a $500k fundraising round from angel investors Chris Mairs, Jeremy Silver, Stephen Pankhurst and Greater Manchester Combined Authority. It has raised $1.1m to date.
The platform boasts 195k registered users from 179 countries, who have posted more than 10,000 creative project briefs. By focusing on the artist niche, Twine can presumably focus on serving their specific audience well.