Hooros set to launch in bid to disrupt SA freelancing market

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Online marketplace Hooros is signing up freelancers and business clients ahead of a hard launch in the next two months, which it hopes will disrupt the South African freelancing market by connecting businesses with local freelancers capable of executing on projects.

Businesses and freelancers are now able to sign up for Hooros, with founder Emmanuel Sibanda telling Disrupt Africa over 230 freelancers and 10 business clients have already registered.

The platform will be fully launched in the next two months, but in the meantime Hooros is looking to build awareness and grow its database. Sibanda said the startup is already connecting clients directly with freelancers offline.

Once live, Hooros – the name of which is derived from the Egyptian sky god Horus – will position itself as a link connecting local web developers, designers, data analysts and online marketers to clients such as entrepreneurs and digital agencies.

Clients will be able to browse through profiles and portfolios of freelancers and hire individuals or teams depending on their project needs. Sibanda said though the vibrancy and talent coming out of the Cape Town entrepreneurial ecosystem was second to none in South Africa, there were inefficiencies in terms of finding the technical skills to turn ideas into businesses.

“In trust-based transactions such as outsourcing, in order to ensure the benefits of outsourcing outweigh the risks of doing so, you ideally would like to work with someone in the same timezone, who speaks the same language and has a contextual understanding of the economic climate your business operates within,” he said.

“We believe entrepreneurs and digital agencies want the freelancer’s learning curve to be as smooth as possible. The most logical way to reach this key result is by hiring local freelancers and this is the value we want to bring to the table.”

Sibanda said a common issue freelancers have online marketplaces is that the value they bring in terms of ability and experience is often diluted by other freelancers offering extremely low rates for their services, who more often than not fail to deliver what they were hired to do.

“At the end of the day both the client and the freelancers suffer as a result of this,” he said.

“Our solution to this problem is adopting a model we believe is a better reflection of what happens. You do not post projects, you look for a freelancer and choose to hire a freelancer based on his portfolio and ability to execute.”

Hooros’ competition ranges from traditional recruitment agencies, to job sites such as CareerJet and Indeed, to freelance marketplaces such as Elance and Freelancer.

“The difference between us and other platforms and models is that all our freelancers are local – our research has led us to believe that there is a real market for an online marketplace targeting digital agencies and entrepreneurs who solely want to work with local freelancers who have a better understanding of local trends, particularly when it comes to marketing,” Sibanda said.

Hooros is a bootstrapped project, and plans to take a small commission from every successful hire that occurs on the platform. Sibanda said the startup envisaged around 80 per cent of its business to come from Cape Town and Sandton, Johannesburg, particularly in the early days.

“These cities are where we are most inclined to find our early adopters and innovators,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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