Fiverr: Changing The 9-5 Working Day, One Gig At A Time
Bob Dylan said it in 1964: times are changin'! This is especially true in the new millenium, but since the dawn of the Internet, times are not only changing - they're doing it at the speed of light!
In the last 20 years, the number of online businesses has skyrocketed. One such business is Fiverr - the gig website that's trying to change to the way people perceive daily jobs.
The men behind it, Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger had a simple goal in mind - if we can order things from eBay or Amazon with only one click, why not do the same with services either?
They stood behind their motto - everyone has a talent that someone else needs - and they built an entire business around it!
Read the full story of Fiverr here:
The Roots Of Micha And Shai
Micha and Shai had similar childhoods - even though they didn't know that at first. They were both raised in an unconventional way, in families that helped them develop their survival instinct from a very young age.
Micha was born in 1971 in Kibbutz HaHotrim, which is near Haifa, the third-largest city in Israel. His parents were hard-working people who taught Micha to value people regardless of their jobs. His father was a mechanical engineer, but his dedicated and ambitious character helped him make a name for himself in the semiconductor industry.
Meanwhile, Micha's mother was a teacher and housewife and she performed to perfection at both of these jobs. As Micha said in many of his interviews following the success of Fiverr, his mother was truly an inspiration for him, a role model that helped him build entrepreneurial habits that would help him on his journey, alongside strong family values.
His family immigrated to Israel from Argentina, so the struggle was not a foreign concept for Micha's parents, and later on for Micha as well. He even performed his duties to the state, by serving military service in the Navy.
Shai's family story is also unique. He grew up in a household where no one had a normal 9-5 job, as he said in one interview. Both his parents had companies, and his father had a factory that was involved with the industrial plastic industry. Both of them were hard-working people - woke up at 4 am, ready to hustle. Shai even worked with his father for a brief amount of time. From a young age, he discovered that the educational system wasn't something he was fond of - he doesn't even have a high school diploma!
However, what these two had in common was impeccable perseverance that would turn out to be a key for their future.
The Making Of Micha And Shai, The Entrepreneurs
Micha and Shai didn't waste too much of their time on boring jobs or things to do in life. Well, except for that time when Micha was studying law at the University of Haifa.
Even though he specialized in intellectual property, the law wasn't the thing that excited Micha the most - he wanted to become an entrepreneur. So, starting from 2003, he's been all about founding startups and getting them off the ground.
For Shai, things went a similar way. Once he discovered that the current educational system wasn't built for his mindset, he went to find his own resources to educate himself. He started from the basic one - learning HTML. This was in the young years of the Internet - the early '90s, so everything was pretty new and unexplored. This put Shai in a better position to take his time and learn how to code and hack like a pro. Eventually, he ended up attending the Neri Bloomfield Academy of Design and Education, from 1989 to 1991.
The two of them dip their toes in many industries, building businesses from scratch - most of which failed, but some of them also succeeded! In 1999, Shai built the first VR web browser - and for the '90s, that was revolutionary! He launched a few other companies as well, all in the online software world. Then, he met Micha.
Micha was doing the exact same thing - starting companies! He was all about the opportunity the Internet created for him and the world, but he also tried his luck in the medical devices industry.
Until the idea of Fiverr was born!
The Beginnings Of Fiver
If you think about it, it's pretty obvious how these two guys thought of the Fiverr idea.
In the first decade of the new Millenium, people had started using the Internet more and more. As experienced entrepreneurs, Micha and Shai were able to visualize the development of the job market, and naturally they saw the Internet as the go-to place.
But many people around them didn't.
Even with the rise of Internet use, people still arranged meetings offline and shook hands to close the deal. For the duo, this meant only one thing - people don't use the benefits of the Internet.
As two founders who'd had many problems finding the right talent, the idea came almost naturally to them, and plus, the timing was perfect.
Their 'aha!' moment happened around 2008, in the middle of the financial crisis. The duo figured - the people that would make all the difference on the job market were the millennials. During the 2008 financial crisis, they witnessed their parents losing their 'secure' jobs, so they didn't want that to happen to them. Additionally, millennials developed different working habits and values - they didn't want to work in one place for the rest of their life. They wanted to work remotely, have the freedom to explore more jobs during their lifetime, and every other perk that comes with freelancing.
Micha and Shai saw an opportunity here, which was an additional motivation for them to develop a platform for freelancers.
But they wanted to put a twist on it - how about the productization of services?
They already knew the concept of freelancing, but they wanted to go one step further - offering the services in a form of a catalog. That way, anyone could come to the website, choose the service, consult the freelancer, and see how it turned out.
Just like at Amazon.com - that was Micha and Shai's big idea.
"We order products with a click of a button - why not do the same with services too?"
They named the platform Fiverr, because of the starting bargaining price they set for any service, which was $5 - and they were ready to launch!
Fiverr, The Freelance Empire
The official launch of the platform happened on February 1st, 2010. The headquarters were set in Israel.
So how did Macha and Shai attract the first freelancers?
Their methods were quite unconventional. Mostly they spread the word around to their friends, who spread around on their friends, and so on. But, they also used dating sites, where people explained what they worked for a living as a way to tell something about themselves. So, the duo's strategy was to contact each one of those people and offer them an opportunity to show their talent on Fiverr and make money out of it.
They got their first freelancers this way!
By June 1, 2010, they already got their first angel investment - $1 million from Guy Gamzu, alongside other angel investors.
On May 3, 2012, Fiverr received yet another seed round money - from Accel Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners, in a total of $15 million!
In 2013, they released their iOS app and in March 2014, they released their Android app, making it easier for any freelancer to join and stay on their platform! That same year, 2014, Fiverr received another $30 million seed round money, solidifying the financial situation of the company even further.
Today Fiverr is the top choice for many freelancers. They erased the $5 gigs, but they're still among the 200 most visited websites in the world. What's even better is that Micha and Shai managed to make things easier for many freelancers and gave them the opportunity to work from anywhere!