August 3, 2020
Micha Kaufman
Founder & CEO | Fiverr

The labor market has undergone 180 degrees change since Dolly Parton made a livin’ 9 to 5… with changes accelerating, among others, due to the eruption of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fiverr’s great success is largely due to its ability to accommodate flexible & remote working habits.
What other evolvements do you see in the remote work environment and how is Fiverr set to address them?
Freelancing has been on the rise for many years. The acceleration of freelancing happened around 2010 when millennials started joining the workforce, and that is when we started Fiverr. Although freelancing has been around forever, the majority of it happens offline. It an old school business based mostly on referrals from people you know. The average time to find and hire a freelancer is 30 days. It’s a friction-intense process that includes getting a reference from others, face to face meetings, proposals, negotiating, contracting, NDAs, payment, invoicing, filing tax forms, figuring out how to securely communicate and exchange files and more. Fiverr was born to solve this terrible experience and move freelancing from the offline to the online. Fiverr turned this market on its head. We made the process of buying a digital service from a qualified freelancer as easy as shopping on Amazon. The average time it takes a visitor that lands on the Fiverr website to place an order is 15 minutes – it is nothing short of a revolution.

The outbreak of COVID-19 indeed gave online freelancing a boost as offline freelancing became a non-option globally almost overnight. At Fiverr we’ve seen an increase on the supply side (freelancers, studios, and agencies) and the demand side (businesses from all sectors and of all sizes). We believe that those who experienced the Fiverr way of working with freelancers are not going back to the old ways. Our customer NPS score is exceptionally high (66) and our customers keep shopping with us for many years. The new situation that has been imposed on all of us as a result of Coronavirus is making businesses rethink the way they structure their teams. We believe that businesses will be much focused on hiring full-timers mostly in their unique core-competence and would augment on that using flexible talent that they can turn on and off based on their changing needs. Fiverr is perfectly built for this scenario and we continue to invest in making this the easiest, most versatile, budget effective option online for small, medium, and large businesses.

Selling Service-as-a-product is the win-win concept for buyers and sellers.
What sort of evolvement have these products seen what can we expect to find on fiverr.com in the future
?
Fiverr’s unique service-as-a-product model has made buying a digital service online as easy as shopping on any eCommerce site. But it presents a more significant revolution for businesses and freelancers. For businesses, it provides total transparency regarding the identity of the freelancers that offer the services, the scope of the offered service, the delivery time, and the exact price of the service. That level of transparency never existed before Fiverr. For freelancers, this is an even bigger revolution. Since the dawn of freelancing, freelancers have had to spend a tremendous amount of their time soliciting clients. This involves a considerable time investment and often requires them to perform a part of the work to win a project. This is time-consuming, expensive, and very frustrating for freelancers. Fiverr is the first place where freelancers do not need to bid to win a project. All they need to do is to register, create a service, and wait to hear from us. We notify them only after an order was already placed and paid for. In addition, both freelancers and customers enjoy the fact that Fiverr provides all the tools necessary to perform the transaction. That solves a tremendous amount of hustle.

We are continuing to innovate along these lines of introducing more simplicity into this relationship. We tools that allow freelancers to team up and develop virtual agencies to perform more sophisticated services. We develop tools to allow larger organizations and teams inside organizations to use Fiverr to work on projects and goals. And, we are always investing in creating tools to give our sellers and buyers more transparency and control over their performance and work and integrations with their favorite productivity tools. Now that more people are working remotely, we intend to continue being a leader in this space by providing the most advanced remote work marketplace ever existed.

It has been one year since Fiverr has become NYSE: FVRR.
How has going public changed Fiverr’s unique culture and what steps do you take how do you protect it? and a subset, during these times how do you create cultures that are remote-first?
Going public hasn’t changed our culture. If anything, it strengthened many aspects of it. As a company obsessed with its community, putting sellers and buyers on the podium to ring the bell on our IPO instead of the team symbolized our way of thinking. As a fast-growing platform, our sense of responsibility for our ever-growing base of freelancers and businesses is getting stronger. Their success is our success.

Building and protecting culture when your team is remote and as new team members are joining without ever seeing the office is a new challenge and an opportunity. This is where companies with a true mission, values, and strong principles become more attractive. It used to be that candidates cared a lot about office perks, but now that is far less relevant. People want to feel that they belong – that they connect to the mission of the company they are joining. Fiverr is known for its clear and ambitious mission, and we are fortunate to have a highly successful business that is also making a strong positive social impact.

What was the inflection point in Fiverr’s history?
The first one was probably 2010 right after we went live coinciding with the timing in which millennials joined the workforce and freelancing accelerated. The second could be the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which accelerated the awareness to the idea of remote work.

What do you miss most in an early-stage company?
Nothing really. Fiverr is still a young company with amazing people and a strong culture. We work hard, and we didn’t forget how to celebrate. I also guess that my involvement in other early-stage companies as an investor fills this void for me.

The toughest choice you had to make as a CEO?
Letting go of people I loved.

Gut instinct and cold Data, which do you follow?
Follow data, but never go against gut instinct.

Where do you invest most of your time?
People and strategy for sure.

What characterizes your executive team?
They are great leaders who are all incredibly talented, experienced, committed, and passionate about our mission.

How do you see your personal growth alongside the company’s?
For the past ten years, Fiverr has been a journey of personal and professional growth. Leading a 50 people startup is nothing like running a 500 people organization, and managing a private company is different from running a publicly-traded one. When you build a rapidly growing company, you deal with an ever-changing reality of things you come across for the first time

The thing that worked best for me is surrounding myself with more experienced mentors and advisors. In Israel today, there are far more growth and public companies to learn from. To pay forward, I offer an open invitation to any company that is considering going public to get in touch with my team – we will be happy to share our experience and help.

 

Best Tip you got?

Life is too short to do things you are not passionate about.

 

Tip you wish you had gotten?

As a young entrepreneur almost two decades ago, the one thing I think would have changed the trajectory of my first businesses was how you choose investors and board members and when and how much money to raise.

 

One thing people don’t know about you?

I’m allergic to eggplant.

About Fiverr
Fiverr’s mission is to change how the world works together. The Fiverr platform connects businesses of all sizes with skilled freelancers offering digital services in more than 300 categories, across 8 verticals including graphic design, digital marketing, programming, video and animation. In 2019, over 2.4 million customers bought a wide range of services from freelancers working in over 160 countries

 

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