Freelancer.com captures 1 million new users in acquisition spree

Summary:Freelancer.com has picked up over a million new users in its latest multi-million dollar acquisition spree, according to the company’s CEO, Matt Barrie.

Freelancer.com announced this week it had wrapped up its third acquisition within the past month, purchasing the online internet marketing platform, Warrior Forum, for AU$3.2 million and capturing an additional 732,000 users in the process.

The Sydney-based company's latest purchase pushes its total number of new users to around a million.

Only two weeks ago, Freelancer.com announced it had purchased online virtual content marketplace, Fantero.com, picking up more than 100,000 new users. And late last month, Freelancer.com acquired Poland's largest online freelancing marketplace site, Zlecenia.przez.net, receiving a further 85,000 users.

Although the official published tally of new users through these acquisitions comes to 917,000, by Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie's estimation about a million new users were picked up over the course of the month.

For Barrie, however, Freelancer.com's long term strategy is to continue to grow organically, not only through the purchase of high profile businesses.

"In the last three acquisitions there have been about a million users," Barrie told ZDNet. "But, acquisitions themselves are not our primary channel. We've been growing so fast mainly on organic growth. But, as things pop up on a prospect position base we will consider them."

For Barrie, Freelancer.com's latest acquisition of Warrior Forum has been in the works for a long time and is a valuable notch in the company's belt.

"With Warrior Forum, I'd been negotiating for literally three to four years, so it's been quite a long time," said Barrie. "This is the world's largest internet marketing forum marketplace and community and it's one of the very key areas for Freelancer."

Barrie also pointed out that Warrior Forum's community represents a particularly 'high quality' user base, with about 40 percent of the platform's traffic coming from the US and about 10 percent from the UK.

"It's pretty critical and it's a massively high traffic website globally. It’s in the top 100 in Australia and the top 150 in the United States and United Kingdom," said Barrie. "No other internet marketing community in the world has really come close to the scale and the brand recognition of Warrior Forum. That’s really an amazing community."

Polish freelancing marketplace site, Zlecenia.przez.net, represented the smallest investment of Freelancer.com's three acquisitions over the past four weeks, at less than AU$100,000 — pocket change for a company that is currently capitalised at over half-a-billion dollars, following its IPO in November last year .

However, even though the Polish site was relatively small-fry for Freelancer.com, it still represents the number one platform of its kind in its country and well worth the money, according to Barrie.

Before these latest acquisitions, Freelancer.com already claimed over 10.8 million registered users globally, with more than 5.7 million projects to date.

For Barrie, however, the long-term goal for the company is nothing short of total dominance of the online freelancing market — whether that is achieved through organic growth or acquisition.

"We're trying to be every job, every country, every language, for anyone with a laptop anywhere in the world," said Barrie.

Topics: Start-Ups, Australia

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Leon covers enterprise technology and start-ups from ZDNet's Sydney newsroom.

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