Earlier today, freelance task marketplace Fiverr announced that it was acquiring New York-based AND CO, a provider of financial and professional management SaaS tools for freelancers and other self-employed workers.
In a video published to Fiverr’s Youtube channel, Fiverr’s global head of brand marketing, Chris Lane, said that AND CO’s service will be rebranded to “AND CO From Fiverr.” Its services will be made available for free through Fiverr.
AND CO was founded in 2015 out of an NYC-based incubator Prehype, which invested in AND CO’s angel round. Prehype is a seed or angel-stage investor in Managed By Q, calendar app Sunrise (acquired by Microsoft for $100 million in 2015), and “direct to consumer mens’ health” startup Roman. AND CO’s cofounder and CEO Leif Abraham was a partner at Prehype at the time of its investment in his startup.
Charlie O’Donnell, founding partner of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, an investor in AND CO’s angel round, told Crunchbase News that “AND CO didn’t try to sell themselves, but a combination made sense after enough discussions with the two companies.” He added that the acquisition is “a great example of what could happen anytime a startup keeps continual dialogue with partners, even if they don’t know what the outcome will be.”
Terms of the acquisition by Fiverr were not disclosed.
Consolidation In Freelance Services Market
There appears to be some consolidation in the freelance services market, and it may be picking up.
AND CO’s acquisition was not the only recent purchase in the outsourcing and freelance management space. On Monday, payroll and HR services giant ADP announced that had acquired WorkMarket, a marketplace for managing contractors and freelancers.
Prior to its acquisition, WorkMarket had raised $66 million from investors including Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, and SoftBank Capital. (Note: SoftBank Capital’s investment was prior to the Japanese telecom giant’s pivot in investment strategy, which included raising a $100 billion “Vision Fund” that Crunchbase News profiled last year.)
Terms of the acquisition by ADP haven’t been disclosed either.
In 2017, TaskRabbit—one of the earliest players in the on-demand services industry—was acquired by Swedish furniture and meatball purveyor, IKEA, for an undisclosed sum. The deal seemed somewhat unusual at the time, given that IKEA hadn’t made any strategic acquisitions to that point. But considering that furniture assembly was one of the top tasks posted to the TaskRabbit app, there may have been something to it.
An uptick in M&A is often a sign of industry consolidation. It’s possible that moves by Fiverr and ADP are continuations of the trend set by IKEA: a slow decline of true freelance work as marketplaces for on-demand talent grow increasingly corporatized and begin to look more like regular old employers, except without the promise of a steady paycheck or benefits.