LiquidTalent has today launched out of beta, offering companies a marketplace to find high-quality developer and designer talent on-demand both on the web and mobile.
The company was founded by Alex Abelin, Google’s former public affairs manager, and Scott Annan under the premise that developers and designers (as well as the companies hiring them) want to work as freelancers with more freedom as opposed to traditional employees.
LiquidTalent also says that most companies are paying a hefty sum to hire through recruiters, and that LiquidTalent can save those companies money by offering high-quality professional connections.
Here’s how it works:
On both the talent side and the hiring side, users are asked to enter in some relevant details and connect through social platforms. LiquidTalent then uses social connections, as well as areas of expertise and the details of the project, to pair the company with the right talent to get the job done.
Through the platform, users can connect with each other via text messages and direct call requests. The company says it is focused largely on 1099 contracting, but that it can also be used to fill full-time positions on a W2 basis.
The 1099 economy, or companies that use contractors as a major part of their product (as with Uber and Postmates), has been in the spotlight of late. Handy and Uber, among others, have been under legal scrutiny after their contractors argued for W2 status, and some companies like Shyp and Instacart have switched over to W2 preventatively.
In the cases of these companies, where contractors are working face-to-face with the end-user, the 1099 approach may not be the best way to offer a reliable, high-quality product, given that 1099 contractors don’t have the same sense of inclusion with the overall brand that a W2 employee might, regardless of the blurry legality of the space.
Designers and developers, who work directly on a product but don’t interface with the end-user like an Uber driver or a Handy cleaner, seems to make more sense for the gig economy.
LiquidTalent isn’t the first to come up with the idea of Uber for Engineers. Gigster and Toptal also offer designer and dev freelancers to companies looking for a contractor.
LiquidTalent says it plans to move to other verticals eventually.
For now, the platform is free to use on both sides, but the company says it has plans to introduce a monthly membership fee when it flips on monetization as opposed to charging a hiring fee.
The company has been quietly working with brands like ESPN, IBM Watson, Trello, and WeWork, among others.
LiquidTalent has raised a total of $1 million to date.