LinkedIn Enters the Freelancer Platform Market

Two months after inking an acquisition deal with Microsoft that is widely expected to move it in a new direction, LinkedIn has launched an online marketplace for freelancers to compete with platforms like Upwork and Thumbtack, Sarah Kessler reports at Fast Company:

Launched on Wednesday, “LinkedIn ProFinder” asks employers to submit contract jobs in categories such as design, writing, or financial services and promises to send them up to five free quotes from LinkedIn users in response. …

LinkedIn’s version does not yet have a set business model. “We want to continue learning and iterating to ensure we get it right before instituting paywalls,” a LinkedIn spokesperson told Fast Company. Currently professionals can submit up to 10 proposals for free. After the 10th job application, they’ll need to subscribe to LinkedIn’s Business Plus subscription, which costs $60 per month. Eventually, the spokesperson said, LinkedIn might host payments between employers and freelancers, which would mean it could take a commission on each transaction.

With this move, LinkedIn is stepping into a growing and rapidly evolving market of online recruiting platforms. Some other recent entrants include HourlyNerd, a platform for management consultants that calls itself “Uber for MBAs,” and Scaled, a UK-based startup that aims to disrupt how businesses hire shift workers. Legacy employers are also, with organizations like PricewaterhouseCoopers launching in-house platforms to contract out freelance work.