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Revenue up, profits up, funding up: news of the job board industry

revenue upAnother month, another bundle of industry news! This time around, lots of revenue up, Indeed has big news, Fiverr continues to thrive, and acquisitions continue apace. Hang on, this roundup will be a long one. Let’s get started:

  • Upwork’s revenue is…up: Upwork reported fourth-quarter revenue rose 32.2% while gross margin widened. Gross services volume at the Santa Clara, California-based firm rose 33% year over year in the fourth quarter to $727.7 million. “Our business typically experiences a seasonal slowdown starting in November and peaking in the last two weeks of the year,” CFO Jeff McCombs said in prepared comments for analysts. “This year, the seasonal slowdown was virtually non-existent, which we had not assumed in guidance.” Upwork forecast first-quarter revenue of $107 million to $109 million, a year-over-year increase of between 28.6% and 31.0%.  Impressive.
  • JobsandTalent pulls down big bucksWorkforce marketplace Jobsandtalent has secured €100 million from the SoftBank Vision Fund 2 in a Series D round. Additionally, they’ve secured €83 million in debt financing from BlackRock. The company has raised €310 million to date. The funding is expected to promote expansion into new markets, notably the United States. 80,000 workers have utilised the platform to find temporary roles. That’s a lotta cash and a lotta workers.
  • JobIndex’s revenue is also upDenmark’s JobIndex posted the highest of its 25-year history in the fourth quarter of 2020. Last March, the company saw job ads fall by around 50% as the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered the country’s offices. “Our numbers show that things are going really well,” the company wrote in its earnings report. “The job advertisement market has returned and is currently at 102% of pre-crisis levels.” Wow!
  • SeekOut raises funds:  SeekOut has landed a $65 million Series B investment from Tiger Global Management, the global investment firm that values the company at around $500 million. Existing backers Madrona Venture Group and Mayfield also participated in the financing, which brings SeekOut’s total funding since inception to $73 million. Since its $6 million Series A raise in May 2019, the SaaS company says it has grown its subscription revenue (ARR) by “more than 10-fold” (although it declined to reveal hard revenue figures). And it’s been profitable, or cash-flow positive, each of the last two years. That’s impressive.
  • Indeed launches…another ATS Indeed has created its own hiring software in an bid to leverage its leading position to edge into the lucrative ATS market. The Indeed Hiring Platform allows employers to manage the hiring process — from posting through interview — directly on Indeed, with no additional software, the company announced. The tool is integrated with Indeed’s conference call product, Indeed Interview, which employers use to connect with candidates in real time. Years back the company had also offered a lightweight ATS. Hmm.
  • SESO Labor working with migrant farmworkers: A small California startup called SESO Labor has raised $4.5 million to ensure that farms can have access to legal migrant labor. The company has 12 farms it’s working with and is negotiating contracts with another 46. SESO has created a service that streamlines and manages the process of getting H-2A visas, which allow migrant agricultural workers to reside temporarily in the U.S. with legal protections. Intriguing.
  • Apna gains funding and usersA startup by an Apple alum that has become home to millions of low-skilled workers in India said that it has raised an additional $12.5 million, just five months after securing $8 million from high-profile investors. More than 6 million low-skilled workers such as drivers, delivery personnel, electricians and beauticians have joined Apna to find jobs and upskill themselves. Users share how they were able to land jobs, or increase their earnings. The app currently has no ads. Interesting.
  • NetJobs continues to struggleNetJobs Group, an operator of several niche recruitment portals in Sweden and Germany, is having liquidity issues.  NetJobs said many of its customers have ceased recruitment and changed their buying behavior. In response, the company laid off around 14 salespeople. It now has 18 employees. Not a good sign.
  • New Work’s revenue up New Work’s adjusted pro forma revenues inched up by 2% to €276.0 million ($335.5 million U.S.) in the 2020 financial year, the business and career network said Wednesday. In the same period, the pro forma EBITDA grew by 9% to €92.3 million while net profit climbed 4% to €37.4 million. The Hamburg-based company, formerly known as Xing, said business has remained stable despite the pandemic. Xing, one of its top brands and a LinkedIn competitor, has seen its membership increase to 19 million, up by 1.8 million compared to the previous year. Impressive.
  • Seek sells stakeSeek will reduce its majority shareholding in Zhaopin, its China-based job site, to 23.5% in a deal worth A$697 million ($551.3 million U.S.). The deal, which Seek foreshadowed was in “advanced discussions” at its H1 results yesterday, values Zhaopin at A$2.2 billion ($1.7 billion U.S.). The company said it will use the funds to pay down its revolving debt facilities. Interesting. In other Seek news, the company’s co-founder and longtime group CEO Andrew Bassat will step down in July after 23 years at the company.
  • Recruitics buys job board software vendor Recruitics has acquired Reverse Delta Ltd., a London-based company that specializes in integrated recruitment websites and digital marketing, and is best known for its platform, FXRecruiter. With this acquisition, Reverse Delta customers will now have an increased opportunity to drive higher ROI to their talent acquisition strategy, via expanded access to Recruitics’ suite of recruitment marketing services. I’m having a flashback of ZipRecruiter and!
  • Contra targets independent workersContra is a platform that wants professionals to create profiles that show project-based identities, versus a role-based identity that one would show on LinkedIn. The early adopters are independent workers who want to work or advise for a product team. Users would showcase the tools they use, projects they’ve led and initiatives they’ve pushed instead of simply writing “Former Stripe Engineer” and calling it a day. The startup has raised a $14.5 million Series A round to meet its competition head on. Very interesting.
  • Fiverr revenue upTalent platform Fiverr reported revenue rose 89.2% in the fourth quarter. The number of active buyers on the platform was 3.4 million as of Dec. 31, 2020, up 45% from 2.4 million as of Dec. 31, 2019. Fiverr is also developing a new platform to help corporate brands hire and manage agency teams and independent creatives. The company said the site will serve changing needs in the creative industry, and signals a move into the marketing business. Impressive.
  • Reed Online’s revenue down, profit upU.K.-based Reed Online saw revenue fall from £54.5 million ($76.9 million U.S.) to £50.2 million ($70.8 million U.S.) for the period ending June 2020. But due to cost-cutting measures, operating profit jumped from £114,000 to £2.1 million, lifting Reed’s operating profit margin from 0.2% in 2019 to 4.3% in FY2020. Reed said that job postings in both core segments — through recruitment consultancies and from employer advertisements — fell significantly at the start of the pandemic. Yes, they sure did.
  • IkmanJobs adds staffing services:  Sri Lanka-based horizontal has started offering staffing services for its recruitment vertical in an effort to move further up the value chain. Ikman Jobs, the recruitment section of Ikman, announced that it would start handling advertisement postings, applicant screening and initial interviews on behalf of clients. Founded in 2012, Ikman is owned by Sweden-based marketplaces operator Saltside Technologies AB, which also runs horizontals in Ghana and in Bangladesh. Hmm.
  • Recruit revenue up…a littleRecruit Holdings reported an improving business environment in its fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31 when compared to the second. Total revenue at the Tokyo-based firm rose 0.5% year over year in the third quarter; that compares to declines of 6.2% in the second quarter and 20.0% in the first. Looking just at Recruit’s “HR technology” segment — which includes Indeed and Glassdoor — third-quarter revenue rose 8.8% in US dollar terms. In Japanese yen, the segment was up 4.6% on a reported basis. Ok.
  • YahooJapan gets giggyYahoo Japan has launched a beta version of its recruitment marketplace focused on side-jobs. Job-seekers will start to receive alerts once companies start posting gigs on the platform in May. Yahoo Japan is operated by SoftBank-backed Z Holdings, which also operates Yahoo Auctions, the leading horizontal in Japan. Yahoo Japan will face tough competition from the hundreds of recruitment marketplaces that operate in the country. Good luck!

Whew! I told you there was a lot of news (and I had to leave out a few more, honestly). The toplines for our industry seem clear, however: increasing demand, increasing revenue, and increasing funding. Not a bad place to be!

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