Finding workers in this economy sounds like it should be easy. But what if you’re searching for someone with a very particular set of skills, skills they have acquired over a very long career? Skills that make them useful to marketers, events planners, and designers? Those people are a little harder to find and that’s why Eric Bernstein built Werkly.
Designed as a peer-to-peer work marketplace, the site allows experts in various fields including runway events, concerts, and hospitality to post their availability and then accept jobs as they appear. Bernstein created the site when he realized how often he had to build teams of workers at a moment’s notice and how hard it was to get them together.
“I have been a freelancer working in production since I was 15 years old,” he said. “After years touring with rockbands like Les Claypool, Phil Lesh, and The Disco Biscuits, I began producing runway, concerts and events for luxury brands and hotels. But the biggest problem I had was the waste of time in booking crew. These events on average lasted 2 hours, but it took nearly 6-10 hours to book a crew.”
By treating every worker as a gun-for-hire and creating solid matching systems, Bernstein makes it easier for creatives to find skilled help.
The profile creation process is a few clicks long and focuses primarily on creative jobs like media and technology and event planning. There are some “Yes” and “No” questions including “Do you have your own tools?” and “Are you an animal handler?” which can help figure out where you’d fit on the crew.
“Until now we are 100% self funded. We are currently looking for our first round of seed funding. We may be able to continue bootstrapping, but I’m hoping for $500,000 in this first seed round,” said Bernstein. The company has gained 400 users since SXSW and they’re expecting about 1,000 this month. Bernstein, who is based in New Orleans, sees himself as an Airbnb for skilled workers.
“Most of the companies in the employment sector, such as Workingnotworking, Odesk and Elance target only high level digital, creative, and content specialists,” he said. “In the labor world there is Craigslist, taskrabbit, and Thumbtack. Those are bidding wars. Werkly is a direct marketplace for the consumer and the producer.”
When I spoke to Bernstein before launch he made it clear that this wasn’t a service for finding day laborers and the like. Instead, he hopes to be able to help folks fill out the ranks of events and productions that require specific experience at a very specific time. Need someone to fix your boiler? You probably don’t want to use Werkly. Need a make-up artist for ferrets for a fashion shoot? This, as they say, is your place. And as the Albanians say if you’re looking for work: fat i mirë.