Freelancer record results, accelerating growth

Interviews

Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Freelancer Limited (ASX:FLN) CEO and Chairman, Matt Barrie
 
 
Lelde Smits: Hello I’m Lelde Smits for the Finance News Network and joining me from global outsourcing marketplace, Freelancer Limited (ASX:FLN) is its CEO and Chairman, Matt Barrie. Matt, welcome back to FNN.
 
Matt Barrie: Thanks for having me.
 
Lelde Smits: Congratulations on a record first half result. Can you tell us what were the highlights and how did they compare to last year?
 
Matt Barrie: Thanks, we had a phenomenal first half and in fact, acceleration in the key metrics over last year. So we’re at record net revenue of $16.8 million, which was up 41 per cent year on year. That’s an acceleration from the full year financial 2014 results, which was up 39 per cent. Gross payment volume, the cash in the marketplace, we beat analyst expectations by a fair amount.
 
We had again, a record first half of $64.1 million dollars, which is up 30 per cent year on year. And that beats the full year for 2014 of 23 per cent. We added one million new projects in contest posted on the site. This is a phenomenal acceleration of 43 per cent a year on year, up from last year. So we had a really, really good first half, so really, really happy.
 
Lelde Smits: What major initiatives has Freelancer rolled out to support your operations over the period?
 
Matt Barrie: We’ve just really focused on project acquisition. So the team is really knuckling down hard to get in projects from users from all round the world. We’ve had a lot of focus spent on marketplace efficiency and conversion optimisation of our funnel. So converting traffic to sign ups, to posted projects and ultimately revenue. And it’s really paying off now in the results.
 
Lelde Smits: During the half you also acquired a number of businesses, including Escrow.com. Can you explain what it does and also how it fits into Freelancer?
 
Matt Barrie: So Escrow.com is just like Paypal.com, right. So it’s a payment system and this is fantastic, because freelancers that earn money on the site now, will be able to send money to anyone in the world, whether SMS it, email and so forth. So it really increases our ability for our users to send payments to each other, which is great. So it’ll increase the commerce on the Freelancer marketplace.
 
Lelde Smits: Where is Freelancer looking to next for expansion and what can we expect over the next six months?
 
Matt Barrie: We have phenomenal growth still in the core markets and that is people, just people posting jobs on the site and posting contests from the United States, from Australia, from the United Kingdom, from Canada and so forth. So we’re still very much focused on the core business of getting that really growing, because it’s really still very, very early days in the whole space. But we’re launching a whole bunch of things. In the next six months, the three major focuses are mobile, mobile and mobile. So really getting that offering up, so it can be really slick and really easy for people to, any time of day come up with a great idea, post it on the site or go and get work.
 
Lelde Smits: Finally Matt, can you tell us about the project with NASA to help design parts for a robot in space. What is involved and why is it significant for the business?
 
Matt Barrie: This is phenomenal. So NASA came to us a few weeks ago and they’re using Freelancer, to crowd source solutions to complex problems that astronauts are facing in space. So in particular, we’re doing a whole bunch of things like 3D modelling of objects that a Robonaut r2 robotic astronaut, which has been on the space station since 2011, is going to use to train itself for image recognition. So it can do activities that astronauts would normally do.
 
So for example, they’ve just upgraded this robotic astronaut to have legs and it’s going to go outside of the space station and do a space walk. And we are doing 3D modelling using Freelancer, of things like the handrail and the flashlight it’s going to be carrying, and so forth. So it can actually know where to grasp and where to do things, and so manipulate objects. So it’s absolutely phenomenal and they’re also getting an app built for their astronauts to use in the space station.
 
So it’s pretty amazing and you can’t get it wrong. Because you get it wrong and millions of dollars’ worth of equipment goes flying into the sun, because it doesn’t grasp the handrail the right way. So it’s phenomenal, if you go to the main website, you can see there are currently 18 contests on the site in various ways, shapes or forms and we think it’s going to expand. So it’s great for NASA, one small step for NASA and one giant leap for Freelancer.
 
Lelde Smits: Matt Barrie, congratulations again on the record results and thank you for the update.
 
Matt Barrie: Great, thank you.