​Freelancer aims for local jobs market

Australian online outsourcing marketplace Freelancer is going after the geographically localised freelancer market, with the launch of its Local Jobs offering.

Australian online freelancing marketplace Freelancer is set to encroach on the market share of fellow Australian online outsourcing startup Airtasker with the launch of its localised jobs service.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed company announced on Monday the rollout of its Freelancer Local Jobs offering, which sees the company move to tap into a new market well in excess of its existing 15 million users.

Like local jobs outsourcing platform Airtasker, Freelancer's new offering makes use of location-specific data and matching technology to help match specific jobs only with freelancers in a user's local geographic area.

The company said in a statement (PDF) that this would allow it to expand its marketplace into more than 100 new location-specific skills, related to location-based tasks, such as pick up and delivery, trades like plumbing or building, and professions, including catering and event management.

The new geo-specific service is expected to help expand Freelancer's total addressable market from AU$75 million annually in gross payment volume to "several hundred billion dollars per annum".

"When you have the largest and most liquid online services marketplace in the world, with over 15 million registered users, it is natural for us to expand our business to encompass location-specific tasks," said Freelancer CEO and chairman Matt Barrie.

Last week, Freelancer revealed that it had shifted into a positive cash flow position for the quarter ending March 2015, after reporting a negative net operating cash flow of AU$218,000 in the previous quarter.

In its latest quarterly cash flow update (PDF), the company reported net operating cash flows of AU$973,000 for the three-month period. The shift comes after the company invested millions of dollars in a series of acquisitions in 2014.

In July last year, Airtasker revealed that it was eyeing New York in an exploration of international expansion opportunities.

"The reason why we thought that market was so strong was because it's got great urban density, and it all comes down to the liquidity, broken down by location," Airtasker CEO Tim Fung told ZDNet at the time.

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