Two great dinners this week covering the tech story of how Freelancer.com became an IPO, with a dash of growth hacking thrown in for good measure, and what role a startup accelerator can play for founders and entrepreneurs building their dream.
Dinner with Freelancer
On Tuesday night, we were joined by Joe Griston, Director of People and Talent at Freelancer for dinner at The Happenstance. Joe’s after-dinner talk covered the Freelancer story, from tech startup through to IPO.
Whilst living in Australia, Joe met a guy (Matt Barrie) at a dinner party who had set up Freelancer. Matt told him the story of how he was looking for someone to do data work for him, managing to find him online. It was a difficult process and he thought there was something to develop here. So, Freelancer was born.
With an abundance of passion for growth, Joe spoke about how in a start up you do everything you can to help the business. He set up HR in 6 months, and was responsible for doing the IPO. Having never done it before, he met with everyone he possibly could.
Don’t ever do this if you have a heart condition!
When Freelancer IPO’d they had the most successful first day of trading, starting out at 50 cents, by the end of the day they had reached $2.5 Australian dollars.
Joe explained over dinner that when you scale, people want more product. From Sydney, Freelancer opened up in Manila, then launched in Vancouver, London and now Jakarta and Buenos Aires. As a Director in the company, he was responsible for growing it and the HR people side of things.
Joe’s top tip when it comes to hiring people was:
We only hire people that we think are better than us, that blow us away.
And there No.1 rule is: Don’t run out of money. At Freelancer, they always make sure they make a return on what they’re doing. Spending 15% on marketing, the run the business to break even. All the profits go back into the business. Using this process, the business has doubled in size every two years in both revenue and users.
Dinner with MassChallenge
As the global CMO of MassChallenge, Diane Perlman spoke at dinner on Wednesday night about the ‘most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet’. Having been around for 7 years, accelerating over 300 startups a year across Boston, London, Jerusalem, Lausanne and Mexico City, MassChallenge do things a bit differently compared to other accelerators. For starters, they’re not-for-profit, which essentially means they take no equity in a startup, each programme takes 100 teams, last for 4 months and 15 teams walk away with £25k cheques.
It may be surprising to hear that they’re an NPO in something that is inherently capitalistic, however, Diane explained that the founder’s vision came from the 2008 crash. He saw greed and land grab rather than people making more pie. So, he decided to make more pie rather than have people fighting over the same pie. Diane feels that she is working for an organisation that is trying to change the world.
As an accelerator that is about impact, MassChallenge looks at 5 industries: Digital Health, Life Sciences, Clean Tech, Social Impact, General Retail and High Tech. Their next cohort starts in September, Each applicant is seen by 4 judges and gets written feedback.
Our speakers were joined by Guidelighter, PixelPin, Fly Marketing, Castellano, Amondo, The Good Blend, Loveandfriends, MyCognition, Shepherd and Wedderburn, TrafficLight Solutions, Amberoot, JobLab, Buto, Debut, Solely Original, ShareStyle, Rockstar Hubs International amongst others.
See what other dinners are happening that you can sink your teeth into.