Work used to mean having a stable, full-time job. To get there, one had to apply for open roles, pass interviews, sign an employment contract, and work for a company nine-to-five, five to six days a week. Repeat ad infinitum.
But the mindset of what a career constitutes has changed over time. The advent of the internet unlocked new possibilities and created a formal gig economy. In today’s globalized world, jobs have moved online, allowing people to earn income by working remotely, undertaking projects for clients without long-term commitment.
It’s an enticing proposition for workers who are on the lookout for more flexible career options, and for talents whose skill sets may be a mismatch for the needs of their domestic market. The pandemic has also led to more people seeking this form of work. According to Mastercard, the number of freelancers is projected to grow by 19% between 2018 and 2023, to approximately 915 million worldwide.
But the gig economy is far from perfect, rife with issues that require addressing. Freelance talents often rely on referral platforms to connect with clients—and platforms do not vet the talents beforehand, which can be problematic. Companies have no way to ensure the quality of talents referred to them, while being made to fork out exorbitant fees as commission. Talents also have limited visibility on such platforms, leading many to cut their prices in order to compete—not receiving fair value for their work as a result.
Works is a decentralized platform that enables companies to hire freelance talents on demand. Talents available for hire specialize in domains of technology, product design, as well as product and project management.
Each talent is rigorously screened by Works during the application process, based on data from sources such as their resume, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile. Psychometric and personality tests, in-depth technical skill reviews, and live screenings are conducted as part of the application process. These assessments ensure only the most qualified talents are onboarded—Works estimates only 3% of freelance talents that apply will be accepted.
Artificial intelligence is used to address issues experienced by companies that work with freelance talents. For example, Works provides text, voice, and real-time audio translations. This resolves language barriers and allows companies to work with talents regardless of linguistic differences. Works can also match companies with talents programmatically, if they find the process overly difficult or time-consuming. On average, Works’ algorithm can recommend a suitable talent for a project within 48 hours.
Results have been promising thus far: 98% of projects completed on Works have attained a five-star rating.
Companies are charged only 10% of each project’s value in fees, which is lower than the industry average. Talents can use a currency called Connects to submit proposals, and retain 100% of their earnings. Each talent receives a number of Connects for free every month, but have the option to pay for more. Talents programmatically matched with clients do not need to pay Connects.
In the future, all users of Works—companies, talents, or connectors—will be able to earn and accumulate a cryptocurrency called WORKS, built on the Ethereum blockchain. Connectors are referrers who introduce their network to Works.
Talents will be rewarded WORKS tokens when they set up a profile, and earn tokens when a project receives a five-star rating. Connectors will earn tokens when they introduce a talent or company to Works, and they will receive additional tokens of value equivalent to a small percentage of future transactions from the talents and companies they introduce.
The tokens can also be staked as collateral for projects—talents lose them if work is not satisfactorily delivered, and companies can cede them to compensate for the cancellation of projects. All token holders will share payouts equivalent to 25% of Works’ monthly profits. Works also has plans to enhance its utility, and to list it on exchanges.
Works is based in Singapore and led by Glenn Tay, who serves as the company’s business director. It has received nearly 4,000 applications since its launch, and is planning to expand into new markets such as China, South Korea, and the United States.
Works was a finalist at the Project AsiaForward Alibaba Cloud Global Startup Accelerator Singapore Demo Day, held on June 1, 2022 at the Singapore EXPO.