It can take a long time to develop a complete service

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South African online freelancing platform NoSweat operates a busy, revenue-making startup, linking freelancers across numerous industries with projects requiring their services.

There’s a twist – the startup also completes all admin and tax on behalf of freelancers, in order to provide a comprehensive service to its clients.

The platform currently represents over 1,600 freelancers, and has made total revenues in excess of ZAR230,000 (US$16,450). Sounds promising, right?

Right. But co-founder Sebastian van’t Hoff explains it hasn’t been plain sailing launching the ambitious startup, which took two years to launch to market.

The idea for the startup began taking shape in 2013, and van’t Hoff and his co-founders spent almost two years researching, and trying to get all the legal requirements in place for the platform they envisaged.

“South African labour law is complex and you need to have all areas covered in the T&C’s before you can do proper business, in order to be able to protect the freelancers and the clients,” van’t Hoff says.

“We had to start from scratch with labour lawyers, financial and admin experts and business architects,” he says.

In the meantime, the founders had to finance the startup from their own pockets.

NoSweat finally launched to market in September 2015, able to provide the many of the services the founders envisaged. However, there are still further areas in which the startup hopes to develop to be able to provide a comprehensive service.

“We do the administration and tax for the freelancers. We pay the tax for the freelancers. It is just easier for the business to take charge of the lot,” van’t Hoff says.

“We’d like to extend the administration services, like managing the complete administration for the freelancers, but we are investigating what is the best way to do it. Freelancers in general are not keen on admin. That’s why we’d like to assist them as personal accountants. That way they can completely concentrate on the work.”

So three years in, and the startup still isn’t operating at its full capacity – it can take a long time to develop a complete service.

The bulk of NoSweat’s revenues come from the past five month period, and the team hopes to launch a 0.2 version of the website by the end of the year.

The startup also plans to skip out African expansion, and go straight for a European launch in Holland next year.

“We like to get South African freelancers overseas work and with the exchange rate overseas money will go far in South Africa,” van’t Hoff explains.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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