Freelancer achieves 60 percent growth in cash receipts for 1Q16

Freelancer has reported that cash receipts came in at AU$12.8 million for the first quarter of the 2016 financial year, despite a stronger Australian dollar and fewer business days.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Australian outsourcing marketplace Freelancer has attributed its acquisition of Escrow.com to helping the company achieve record cash receipts of AU$12.8 million, up 60 percent year-on-year, for the quarter ending March 31, 2016.

The company also reported on Monday that operating cash flow came in at AU$1.9 million for the first quarter.

During the period, the number of jobs posted peaked in March at 224,000, an improvement on the same period in the prior year that saw 144,000 jobs posted on Freelancer.

On its own, Escrow grew 18 percent in constant US currency terms over the prior corresponding period. Freelancer highlighted that it was the first time Escrow.com contributed to a full quarter since it was acquired, effective November 1, 2015, for $7.5 million.

This follows on from Escrow reporting earlier this year that gross payment volume in 2015 topped $430 million, a 28 percent increase from the $310 million recorded in 2014. This was reflected by the total number of users of Escrow during the year, which reached 900,000, approximately an increase of 100,000 users from 2014.

Freelancer chief executive Matt Barrie described the 1Q16 results as "brilliant".

"This was achieved against the background of an appreciating Australian dollar and with Easter falling in Q1 this calendar year. 2016 will also be an exceptional year for Freelancer, with a full year contribution from Escrow.com and accelerating growth across our businesses," he said.

According to the company, over 810 incremental changes were made to Freelancer and 200 for Escrow in the first quarter. Some of these included seeing Escrow release a new mobile responsive and multilingual front end; NASA completing several contests related to component logo and engineering design; and overhauling and redeploying the membership system, including launching Professional and Premier memberships.

Looking forward, the company believes the remainder of 2016 will be "an exceptional year", particularly with the addition of Escrow to the group.

Earlier in the year, Freelancer reported that it finished 2015 with net operating cash flow of AU$1.43 million for the 2015 financial year, with AU$362,000 being added during the fourth quarter.

The purchase of Escrow reduced its total operating and investing cash flow to a AU$9.7 million loss for 2015.

The positive net operating cash flow, however, came in the wake of the company's 2014 slump, which saw Freelancer down AU$100,000 in operating cash flow with a net loss after tax of AU$1.5 million.

Speaking at Knowledge Nation 2016 earlier this month, Barrie pointed out that Australia is missing out due to education and innovation being tied up in the bureaucratic confusion and absurd policies of state governments.

"The situation, I believe, is an absolute crisis," he said. "If there's one thing we need to do to fix this industry, it is get more people into it. Unfortunately, the curriculum in high school pays lip service to technology."

He continued to say that he believed getting all state governments to agree to modernise the curriculum is an "exercise in futility or sadomasochism".

"I've come to the conclusion it's actually all too hard to fix," he said.

"I think we should abolish state governments."

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