Nigerian freelancing marketplace Asuqu has raised a five-figure dollar funding round, with the startup rolling out two new related platforms on the back of the investment.
Launched in 2015, Asuqu is an online marketplace for creative and professional services, which aims to connect freelance professionals to customers across Africa.
Founder Rabiu Musah told Disrupt Africa the startup is fuelled by the belief that freelancing will be the future of employment across Africa, and will solve the employment challenges faced by young people across the continent.
The startup closed an undisclosed seed funding round earlier this month (January), from two Nigerian investors living abroad.
With the funding, Asuqu plans to push forward with two new platforms – Asuqu Elites and Asuqu SME.
Asuqu Elite is a business-to-business model where Asuqu picks freelancers from the marketplace, and nurtures them with a view to outsourcing them to companies looking for a particular task done.
Asuqu SME is a subscription model for startups, SMEs, and entrepreneurs, allowing them to save on the cost of hiring by subscribing to one of a range of packages. For example, a startup can subscribe to the Graphic Design startup package for US$48 per month, and get up to five designs per month.
Under the funding deal, the startup has six months to get the new products off the ground.
“We needed to get our product out there. We have worked tirelessly to build a near perfect solution up to this point and it’s time we got the feedback from the market. The team were so eager to connect the disconnected markets and funding is the only way to push ourselves a step further,” said Musah.
“I’m extremely glad we were able to get through with the funds, because it will help us explore the market better and also build a stronger product to serve our people better.”
With a view to the future, Musah says the startup plans to expand to cover eight countries by 2020.