We’re excited! Today we’re announcing that we’ve signed an agreement to merge with Elance. First things first: we’ll continue to serve you on odesk.com, and Elance customers will continue to work on elance.com. In other words, oDesk and Elance will operate separately and as usual, even after the merger is complete. Why, then, are we putting the two companies together? The answer is pretty simple: we think we can do a better job this way. We are both inspired by a similar vision: to deliver online work experiences that create freedom and boundless opportunity for clients and freelancers everywhere.
The merger has not yet closed, but here are the kinds of things you can look forward to:
Participation in how we evolve.
Please join us in crafting the future together. Email me personally at email@example.com. Tell me your likes, dislikes, suggestions and comments about oDesk -- and about Elance if you’ve tried it too. We’ll reflect feedback in future innovations and share back what you’ve taught us in an upcoming forum post. I also have a personal announcement. I’ve decided that after the merger closes I will step aside and hand the reins of the merged company to Fabio Rosati, Elance’s CEO. I will remain involved as a strategic advisor. We have been spirited business rivals over the years, but I have always respected Fabio. I could not possibly imagine a more dedicated and capable CEO to oversee the merged company. oDesk executive chairman Thomas Layton will also be a leader of the new combined company, continuing his same role. We’ve prepared a Q&A in case you have more questions. Please note that the closing of the merger, expected to occur in Q1 2014, is subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions (including regulatory review and approval). In the meantime, I am so proud of what this community has accomplished and excited to reach new heights by teaming with Elance. You have my promise that we will work harder than ever to make sure that YOU, our customers truly love the way you work!
Gary Swart oDesk CEO
Why did oDesk and Elance decide to merge? Both companies are leading innovators driving the adoption of online work. Combined, we will have the resources to invest in products and services that better meet our customers' needs. For example, specific expected benefits of the merger include: - Significant investments in technology, including tools for more effective online hiring, seamless virtual collaboration, improved mobile accessibility and job skills development. - Higher quality results. Combining our engineering and data science expertise will deliver quality improvements including better-matched freelancers for clients and superior job recommendations for freelancers. - Accelerated growth and scale. The overall global demand for staffing is enormous and is transitioning online. Combined, the companies will be able to help accelerate this transition.
What is the vision for the new combined company?
Just as Amazon reinvented retail, and Apple iTunes transformed the music industry, together oDesk and Elance will revolutionize the way we work. This merger will create unprecedented freedom for people to find job opportunities regardless of their location, and will allow businesses of all sizes to more easily access the best available talent.
What does this mean for current clients and freelancers on oDesk and Elance? Both odesk.com and elance.com will for now continue to operate as separate, independent services. Your accounts and profile records will not be impacted. For freelancers, your profile and work history and other aspects of your online reputation will not be affected. For clients, you will still be able to hire, manage and pay exactly as you have in the past. After the merger closes, expect accelerated product and quality innovations that help both oDesk and Elance serve you better.
How are you evolving the two platforms so they become more differentiated? We are inviting feedback from customers on both odesk.com and elance.com, and will be actively incorporating this feedback into differentiating innovations on the platforms moving forward.
Will there be more competition for good jobs among freelancers as a result of this merger?
As both odesk.com and elance.com will continue to operate as separate, distinct online work marketplaces for now, we don't anticipate any changes in freelancer competition due to the merger. We will also continue to invest to attract more businesses to hire online and increase the number of jobs available for freelancers.
How much work is happening on oDesk and Elance?
Freelancers will earn about $750 million on the two sites in 2013.
How does this company fit into the overall market for hiring and staffing?
Global staffing is a $422 billion market (according to Staffing Industry Analysts) that we believe is ripe for reinvention. Online work, any type of work that can be done via the Internet, is an emerging sector within it that SIA predicts will reach $5 billion by 2018.
Who will lead the new company?
oDesk executive chairman Thomas Layton will continue in the same role at the combined company, and Elance CEO Fabio Rosati will serve as chief executive officer.
What will the new combined company be called?
As the merger is not yet complete, it’s too early to say. The name will be announced after the deal closes.
Will any of the features I’m used to go away?
We update our platforms on a regular basis and will continue to do so, but clients will still be able to hire, manage and pay as they have in the past, and freelancers’ profile, work history, etc. will not be affected. Login information will remain the same.
Will there be any change in fees or membership structures?
None are planned.
What’s the timeline for concluding the deal?
The closing of the merger is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, and is expected to occur in the next four months.