Launched in 2021, Revolancer is reshaping the global freelance landscape by facilitating a skill-swapping ecosystem. The platform offers career freedom to freelancers and represents a significant shift in how freelance work is valued and exchanged. It also empowers self-employed people to grow their businesses without financial constraints.
The platform is the brainchild of Karl Swanepoel, whose entrepreneurial journey is nothing short of remarkable. Starting his freelance career at 13 and selling his first business at 15, Karl realised early that the freelance industry was fraught with challenges and often undervalued its most crucial asset - freelancers themselves. This realisation sparked the idea for Revolancer. Karl envisioned a platform where freelancers could exchange services and support each other, eliminating the need for a substantial initial budget. It was a bold move to shift the paradigm from a money-centric to a skill-centric economy within the freelancing world.
Today, the platform's 100,000-strong user base spans over 100 countries, a testament to its international reach. It is backed by investors, including SFC Capital, and has earned recognition from Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak, who has referred to Revolancer as a "cool startup."
Here, Karl Swanepoel shares his business journey and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Tell us about Revolancer.
My experience in the freelance industry highlighted a significant gap. Freelancers often struggle with undervaluation and lack access to essential services. Revolancer was born to create a fairer, more collaborative environment for freelancers. Witnessing the challenges within the freelance industry first-hand, I was determined to address these fundamental issues. Revolancer was born from my desire to create a beacon of hope and opportunity for freelancers everywhere.
Revolancer is more than a platform; it's a community where skills and services are traded, fostering mutual growth and collaboration. It offers a unique credit system, allowing freelancers to exchange services seamlessly, circumventing the financial barriers typical of traditional freelance platforms.
As it continues to grow and evolve, Revolancer is set to redefine what it means to be a freelancer in today's fast-paced, interconnected world.
How does Revolancer transform the typical freelance experience?
Traditional freelancing often involves monetary transactions, which can be limiting. Revolancer changes this dynamic by introducing a credit system. Freelancers earn credits through their services, which they can spend on other services within the platform. This approach encourages a more community-centric, supportive freelance culture.
How has the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme supported your growth journey?
AGP's support has been pivotal. They provided strategic insights, particularly in marketing and financial planning, that were crucial during our initial growth phase. Their guidance helped us navigate the challenges of starting up during the pandemic and significantly impacted our global expansion.
What challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome them?
Starting during the pandemic presented unique challenges. However, we saw this as an opportunity to offer a solution for freelancers affected by the crisis. Our most significant learning was the importance of global expansion, which we initially delayed. In hindsight, going global earlier would have accelerated our growth even more.
What are your future aspirations for Revolancer?
We aim to continue expanding our global reach, creating a diverse, inclusive community of freelancers. We're constantly exploring new ways to enhance our platform, making it more accessible and valuable for freelancers worldwide.
What advice would you share with other entrepreneurs?
● Recognise and act on timely opportunities, especially during unforeseen adversities.
● Remain steadfast in your mission and values; they will guide your venture through tumultuous times.
● Continually seek feedback and be prepared to pivot based on market needs.
● Surround yourself with a passionate team that believes in your vision.
● Seek out mentorship and guidance from experienced industry leaders