oDesk is a Menlo Park-based company that offers a marketplace for contract talent, primarily in the programming services field. We first wrote about oDesk only a few weeks ago, and since then they have experienced strong growth with a rise in the number of projects and suppliers. Today oDesk have announced an $8 Million Series B investment lead by Benchmark Capital, the respectable Silicon Valley firm that has previously backed companies such as eBay, Handspring, RedHat and Juniper. All of oDesk’s previous investors have also taken part in this round, which will see Kevin Harvey of Benchmark join the oDesk board of directors.
At the recent Future of Web Apps conference in San Francisco, Michael Arrington (the editor of Techcrunch) listed oDesk amongst a group of companies that are ‘ones to watch’. We have watched oDesk grow strongly in a space that was previously heavily dominated by both eLance and Guru. oDesk offers a twist on the old model in a market that is desperate for high-quality development and other IT services. oDesk allows it’s customers to track every aspect of projects and jobs that they post to the marketplace, from sourcing the right talent through to managing your relationships with suppliers. It also have a different economic model as all work is charged on an hourly basis rather than a fixed project cost found on other sites.
We are bullish about oDesk’s prospects, not only because of the rising demand for good providers but also because of their approach to connecting and managing the relationship between providers and customers. As indicated in comments in our previous post, and in our own experience, oDesk seems to be loved by both the providers of services as well as it’s customers, and both parties seem to stick to using the service. With Benchmark now putting it’s chips down on oDesk, the service should power ahead even further and become a dominant player. oDesk have said that the funds raised from the Series B will be used to expand marketing activities and to spur growth, it seems that they have the platform right, it is working well for all participants and now it’s time to open the floodgates.