- Invisible allows people to outsource their most repetitive work and daily tasks, with prices starting at $US10/hour.
- Invisible customers save valuable time by only having one point of contact with the company, who then manages a team of workers on their behalf.
- On Thursday, Invisible announced that it has raised a $US2.6 million seed round of funding, with Zynga founder Mark Pincus as a notable angel investor.
- Invisible CEO Francis Pedraza is also excited about the other side of the marketplace he’s building which helps create tech jobs for people around the world.
What would happen if Elon Musk had more time in his day? Would he start another company?
It’s a question that InvisibleCEO and co-founder Francis Pedraza thinks about often.
Pedraza told Business Insider in a recent interview that people who make a career out of non-repetitive tasks – like forming business strategies and writing computer code – still spend around 40% of their day doing process-based work that could be delegated or automated. Pedraza pointed to recruiters who devote half their days to posting job descriptions across the internet and account managers who are forced to fill out detailed reports.
On Thursday, Pedraza’s company Invisible announced it has raised a $US2.6 million seed round to help give these employees back the valuable gift of time. Zynga founder Mark Pincus participated in Invisible’s seed round, as well as Backed Ventures, Loup Ventures, Horizons Alpha, and Day One Ventures.
Pedraza believes he and his team of around 30 have come up with a better plan for solving the outsourced work market than well-known freelancer services like Upwork – which currently has a $US2 billion market cap.
He calls it a synthetic approach – pairing automation technology with real, behind-the-scenes people completing tasks.
“Invisible is like Uber for digital labour,” Pedraza tells us.
Invisible starts at $US10 per hour for those looking to get help with simple tasks like booking travel or scraping LinkedIn for potential leads. More advanced tasks that aren’t as easy to replicate, like drafting email responses, can cost up to $US30 per hour.
“Labour is as cheap as processing power now, but [other companies] are not viewing it as a computing resource,” Pedraza tells us. “[At Invisible] we’re not giving up on humans.”
How Invisible works
Once an Invisible customer creates a task, it gets assigned to the next available agent who is qualified to handle it. Right now, Invisible employs 70 contract workers in 16 countries around the world, helping complete tasks that range from qualifying sales leads to actually drafting emails for clients.
Users only interact with one point of contact at Invisible, even though there may be multiple people working for them in the background. Invisible calls this point of contact a “bot” (you can even give your bot its own name), but at least for now, a human will always be on the other side of the chat interface, coordinating the outstanding work.
Pedraza believes having a single way to manage your work is key, otherwise training and managing a team of contractors can become a full-time job unto itself.
“You have to keep hiring, and pretty soon you’re building an army, and it’s taking more of your time in running the army than it’s saving you in time savings,” Pedraza says.
In theory, someone using Invisible could have one person, or a hundred people, working for them with no difference in time spent managing the process on their end.
The bigger picture
Beyond giving time back for people to explore more creative and impactful work, Pedraza is also interested in the job opportunities Invisible opens up for those around the world.
“If I can provide a career path for people to enter the digital class and teach them increasingly valuable skills, that’s exciting,” Pedraza tells us. He says that wages for workers start at $US1.50/hour but can increase up to $US30/hour, where- in countries like Kenya – that can be quite a large salary.
Invisible’s approach – of actually relying on people to complete tasks, rather than pure machine automation – may run contrarian to the typical, “AI” hype of Silicon Valley, but Pedraza believes it’s the right one.
Invisible does use technology to automate tasks where possible – like filling out expense reports where there are only a few major platforms used and automated scripts can be created – but real people are documenting and creating these processes at the start.
“If you say that you care about the world and you’re building pure software companies, you’re basically anti-humanist in the most extreme way,” Pedraza says. “You’re not helping most people in the world. You’re increasing the inequality.”