If you’ve ever worked as a freelancer, you know the last thing you want to do — after lining up gigs, submitting your work, and reworking your project (when that last person on the client side decides he or she wants something entirely different) — is to handle all the administrative stuff. Think invoicing. Expenses. Other paperwork.
That’s why a year-old, New York-startup called AND CO is creating a system that does it for you, using both software and live chat support. (Every freelancer gets a personal “chief operator” during working hours.)
AND CO was born at Prehype, a four-year-old design and incubation boutique that produces new ideas for corporate customers. Among other companies to come from its team are the subscription business BarkBox and the office cleaning and management startup Managed by Q.
Prehype founder Henrik Werdelin is a BarkBox founder. Managed by Q cofounder Saman Rahmanian is also a partner at PreHype. Meanwhile, Leif Abraham, a former creative director who joined Prehype in 2014 and was an early employee at BarkBox, is the cofounder and CEO of AND CO. (Abraham says his cofounder, Martin Strutz, also a longtime digital creative, was “like an entrepreneur-in-residence” at Prehype.)
AND CO, which charges a flat $60 a month, right now focuses largely on freelancers with project workflow, like designers, writers, and developers.
It’s also fairly limited in what it can do. For example, it can provide its customers with a detailed income statement to make their tax preparation easier — just. But Abraham says that as the company’s software evolves, it plans to play a larger role in making the tax process, which can be particularly tricky for freelancers, far more seamless.
As importantly, AND CO’s vision is to create a support network in which every member helps each other automatically. To wit: with every freelancer contributing anonymously to the network, it should become better at arming other users with valuable information that’s today very hard to obtain, including what to charge and which clients to work with (along with those to avoid).
Such is the idea anyway. And investors seem to like it. AND CO just raised $2 million in seed funding led by Thrive Capital, with participation from BoxGroup, Red Swan Ventures, and Designer Fund.
The found follows a $500,000 angel round that BoxGroup had led. Other participants in that first funding included Prehype, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, and individual investors Scott Belsky, Josh Abramson, Ricky van Veen, Neil Vogel and Bjarke Ingels.