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About the Author:
Corey Greendale
Corey Greendale
Managing Director
Corey Greendale, with over two decades of experience at First Analysis, works with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading software and human capital businesses. He leads the firm’s efforts in the future-of-work area, learning technology, and the human capital sector, and his thought-leading research in those areas has been cited for excellence in the Wall Street Journal’s “Best on the Street” survey, Forbes and the Financial Times. He serves on the boards of Amplifund,, Netchex, SynergySuite, Visage and Yello. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2000, he was a development analyst at Systema Corp., where he designed training programs for several large pharmaceutical companies. He earned an MBA with high honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
First Analysis Future of Work Team
Corey Greendale
Managing Director
James Macdonald
Managing Director
Richard Conklin
Managing Director
Matthew Nicklin
Managing Director
First Analysis Quarterly Insights
Future of work
Freelance marketplaces an essential element of the future talent tech stack
December 7, 2021
  • Several forces are converging to make the future of the workforce increasingly fluid. Freelance marketplaces are emblematic of this fluidity, enabling companies and workers to engage far more dynamically than in traditional employment.
  • The benefits of freelance marketplaces for buyers include the ability to quickly scale labor up or down, to quickly and efficiently source highly specialized skills, and to tap a larger talent pool than with traditional employment. Benefits for freelancers include greater flexibility in how, when and where they perform work and often greater earning potential.
  • The emergence of multibillion-dollar publicly traded freelance marketplaces highlights the enormous demand among both companies and workers for this more dynamic mode of engaging. Several large companies, each of which addresses a broad swath of skill sets, are the most visible players. However, there are numerous thriving smaller freelance marketplaces that specialize in one or a subset of related freelance segments that have exciting growth prospects. We summarize how freelance marketplaces work and profile several of these specialized freelance marketplaces.


Includes discussion of FVRR, UPWK and 11 private companies

Marketplaces will figure prominently in the workforce transformation

Benefits to organizations using contingent talent via marketplaces

Benefits to freelancers

Advantages of marketplaces

How marketplaces work

Freelance marketplaces' win-win proposition suggests a bright future for specialized providers

Future of work index lags S&P 500 and Nasdaq

Q4 future of work M&A pace appears to have slowed

Q4 future of work private placement pace remains strong

Marketplaces will figure prominently in the workforce transformation

Several forces are converging to make the future of the workforce increasingly fluid. Even before the pandemic, many workers were showing a preference for more control over their working lives, remaining with a given employer only for a short time before moving on to their next opportunity or working as a freelancer or gig worker rather than committing their entire work lives to a single company. At the same time, an increasing pace of innovation and a drive to operate more efficiently have made employers more willing to work with labor across classifications rather than relying solely or predominantly on traditional, W-2 type workers. And broad adoption of cloud-native human-capital-focused applications is making it practical for both employers and workers to operate in this more fluid manner. These currents have been accelerated by the pandemic. Workers are demanding more flexibility than ever as the labor supply remains constrained. Employers feel more comfortable with remote labor, filling talent needs with the best available people regardless of their location or classification, and collaborating with talent with very specific skills rather than requiring employees to be generalists.

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