Fiverr acquires Stoke Talent To Compete with LinkedIn’s recent launch of Service Marketplace.
On the heels of LinkedIn last week launching Service Marketplace, a competitor to freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, today Fiverr announced an acquisition that speaks to how it plans to stay in the game by building in more features for its users. Fiverr is acquiring Stoke Talent, which lets companies manage their freelance teams, for $95 million.
Stoke’s toolset includes features to onboard new freelancers; employers can also pay them through the platform, and accordingly track their overall freelance budgets. The idea here is to build tools that both tie in those employers more tightly into Fiverr’s freelance marketplace — Stoke will remain independently operated, but the products also will be integrated, so that freelancers hired via Fiverr can be onboarded and paid through Stoke — and also tie Fiverr more deeply into how those companies work with freelancers overall, even if they are not sourced via Fiverr itself.
The deal speaks to how big players in recruitment — namely Microsoft-owned LinkedIn — are working on ways of expanding their business by moving into new and adjacent areas of the employment market. This is in turn driving some consolidation, with larger and established players in freelance services snapping up smaller companies to expand their own platforms, creating more utility and monetizable features in the process.
Fiverr is still well ahead of LinkedIn in the freelancer landscape: its marketplace covers freelancers from some 160 countries with specialties in more than 500 categories and nine verticals such as graphic design, digital marketing, programming, video and animation; and some 4 million customers have used Fiverr to engage those freelancers. LinkedIn by contrast covers half as many categories (with plans to expand soon to 500), with some 2 million freelancers registered; it’s not disclosing how many customers have engaged their services just yet, and it is only now opening up globally outside of a limited, closed beta that it ran in the U.S. But LinkedIn, with nearly 800 million users and a very strong presence in the wider professional networking and job-hunting markets, will be a formidable competitor in any adjacent space that it decides to tackle.