Freelancer posts million dollar operating loss for first half

Online outsourcing and crowdsourcing marketplace Freelancer has reported an operating EBITDA of AU$1 million for the first half of 2015.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Australian online marketplace Freelancer has reported a half-yearly operating net loss after tax of AU$800,000 for the period ending June 2015, pushing past its AU$600,000 operating net loss after tax in the same half last year.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed company also saw a deeper loss on its reported operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), posting loss of AU$1 million, down a further AU$200,000 from its 1H14 loss of AU$800,000, which itself was down AU$200,000 from AU$600,000 in the first half 2013.

Matt Barrie CEO Freelancer told shareholders that the company had seen 40.8 percent growth on the same period last year to post AU$16.8 million in net revenue, saying that the company is proud of having recorded such a high increase from the AU$12 million posted last year.

"We are continuing to focus on the product, user experience, scalability, and expanding the features of the marketplace offering," Barrie said.

"We will also continue to focus on expanding the functionality and penetration of our platform across mobile devices, and will continue to expand across regional and multilingual markets, and further across job categories."

Freelancer also boasted the addition of 1.8 million users in 1H15, reaching a user base of 16 million, and saw 1 million projects and contest listings posted to the site for the half-year period -- up 43 percent from the same half in 2014.

Last year, Freelancer cited its series of acquisitions as the reason for its AU$600,000 operating loss, telling its investors at the time that it was "a result of the accelerated re-investment in future growth."

During the first half of this year, Freelancer acquired the assets of online freelance job marketplace Donanza for an undisclosed sum in early March, after it had shut its services down in July 2013.

In addition, the company also bolstered its European presence, acquiring the assets of Spanish online freelancer marketplace Projectlinkr later that month, once again for an undisclosed amount.

At the time, Freelancer said that these deals will be funded from its existing cash reserves, which at the end of December 2014 stood at AU$20.2 million. The Company said as of June 30, it held cash and equivalents of AU$31.1 million.

In July, the company announced that it had partnered with NASA to crowdsource solutions for problems astronauts face on the International Space Station.

Earlier this year Freelancer entered into a stock and asset purchase agreement to acquire online fraud protection outfit Escrow.com for $7.5 million. According to Freelancer, the deal with the California-based third party payments vendor is still undergoing regulatory approval in the US, and is expected to operate as a standalone business once sealed.

In 2014, Escrow.com recorded net revenue of $5 million, and $1.2 million in EBITDA.

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