Crowdsourcing design service 99designs has hand-picked a thousand of its top designers for a new spin-off that will let them take on small design jobs – like changing the colour of a business card – for $10 apiece.
Each of the jobs costs $15 to list; the spin-off, Swiftly, pockets a third of the fee.
99designs CEO Patrick Llewellyn hopes to have paid Swiftly designers a total of $60 million within five years, which is about how much the 5-year-old 99designs has paid out to date.
The Swiftly task listing model is somewhat more conventional than 99designs’ “contests”. Swiftly allows businesses and individuals to list small, simple projects at a set cost that designers may choose to accept.
Leveraging the existing 99designs user base means companies have quick access to an always-on pool of designers who can solve minor but urgent problems with everyday business material like presentations and illustrative graphics.
It adds to a nascent but growing pool of internet platforms that allow people to commission the completion of basic tasks from online skill and labour pools. Airtasker is one example.
Llewellyn expects Swiftly projects to take 5-20 minutes for designers to complete.
99designs is different in that businesses post jobs as “contests”, and designers compete for a “prize” of up to $2499, of which 99designs takes a 5-30% cut.
“I think design is a massive marketplace,” Llewellyn said. “99designs has been operating since 2008, but we’ve been talking about this [Swiftly] for years – it was in our pitch to Accel.
“We’ve consistently had customers reaching out saying, ‘I don’t need a new logo; I just need a logo fixed’.”
Swiftly is invitation-only for designers; of 99designs’ pool of 240,000 designers, only about 1000 were invited to join, based on their time zones, contest win rate, and for how long they had been a part of 99designs.
About 500 designers agreed to join Swiftly. Llewellyn said many were located in North America, the UK, Eastern Europe, South East Asia and Australia.
“We’re seeing a lot of growth and high quality designers coming from Central Europe, the UK, Spain, Italy, Indonesia and the Philippines,” he said.
Casual, tasked-based work has become increasingly popular in Australia, with about 1 in 5 of workers employed in casual jobs as of November.
Last month, News Corp’s CareerOne initiated and struck a deal to include advertisements from Airtasker on CareerOne: a sign that larger players have noticed a growing market for ultra short-term work.
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