Street Fight Features Moonlighting
When we think of online job sites, we think of Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder. But what about Moonlighting.com? It’s a three-year-old startup that caters to the fast-growing gig economy, where handy people, dog walkers and piano players (and tuners and movers), among others, connect and bargain with their hirers.
Three major local newspaper groups — McClatchy, Gannett and tronc — are partnering with Moonlighting to build a new, mobile-first base for their job classifieds, which were a big revenue source in the print era but have been devastated by new-generation digital sites. The partnerships include a $2.3 million investment in Moonlighting by the three news media companies.
In this Q & A, Jeff Tennery, founder and CEO of Moonlighting, talks about the growth of his firm and why it fits into the digital-mobile strategy of local newspapers:
How big is the gig economy?
It’s worth has been estimated at $1 trillion and it involves 50-60 million people doing freelance work.
Your company has signed up 600,000 freelancers in its three-year existence. What’s your growth target?
Our original plan was to reach 7 million users by 2020. With our upcoming initial coin offering we believe we can accelerate our timeline and reach that much earlier. We are seeing interest to expand our platform globally, and if we execute properly, could reach 5 million users by end of 2018.
Moonlighting has been called the “Uber of everything.” But isn’t your company very different from the digital ride-hailing service?
When people think of the gig economy, they often compare companies to Uber as many companies refer to themselves as the “Uber of this” or “Uber of that.” And over the past five years, investors looked for startups to cop the Uber model. We started with the model, but became disillusioned for two reasons.
First, it was going to take too much capital to execute. The second problem was the payment process – taking a slice of every freelancer’s paycheck, like Uber does with its drivers, is very unpopular. And it causes freelancers to go off line and circumvent your platform. Taking 2% or 3%, to cover credit card fees was one thing. But when we tried to take 10% to make a little bit more money, users fled the platform. When you start messing with people’s paychecks, they start leaving your platform and we didn’t want to be in the disputes business when business goes awry.