Israeli tech startup Stoke raises $15.5M Series A funding to enable companies to embrace the freelance revolution
The nature of the workforce is changing, moving from a workforce dominated by full-time workers to one where freelancers are becoming more prominent; projections show that the freelance workforce is expected to grow to over 50% of the total U.S workforce by 2027. COVID-19 has accelerated the shift further, as companies have quickly realized the need for added agility and flexibility to survive such disruption, leaning on freelance talent to do so.
According to the U.S. April jobs report, there are a record 8.1 million job openings across the country with 44% of businesses unable to find enough workers. The shortage is caused by Federal government stimulus checks.
As the pandemic winds down, many unemployed workers have no incentives to return back to work as some of them now make more money than they do from their regular jobs. As such, employers are turning to freelance workers and independent contractors. However, hiring freelancers is not without its challenges–hiring, onboarding, tracking, invoice management, and compliance with local laws.
Enter Stoke Talent, aTel Aviv, Israel-based tech startup and the maker of a freelance management system (FMS) that makes it easy for companies to work with independent contractors. Stoke is a secure all-in-one platform that enables companies to hire top talents quickly, set up automated onboarding workflows aligned with government guidelines, pay multiple invoices across 190 countries, all while ensuring management, finance, and human resources teams have full visibility and control over budgets, in addition to automatic legal and tax compliance.
Today, Stoke announced it has raised a $15.5 million Series A funding round led by Battery Ventures, with participation from all previous investors and angels including TLV Partners, Dynamic and Loop, and a handful of visionary customers who have experienced its business impact first-hand. The company has raised a total of $20 million to date.
Stoke will use the fresh capital to drive expansion and meet the rapidly growing demand from U.S. companies seeking to work more effectively in the changing workforce which includes both freelancers and full-time employees.
Stoke was founded in 2018 by Hilik Paz and Shahar Erez with the mission to help companies harness the power of the freelance revolution by simplifying the way they collaborate with the non-payroll workforce, which includes freelancers, contractors, consultants, agencies, and gig workers. Stoke reduces the hassle of hiring, onboarding, tracking, and managing invoices while ensuring full legal and tax compliance. Stoke works with companies of all sizes, including unicorns like TripActions, SimilarWeb, Scale.ai, and Verbit.
Since emerging from stealth mode less than a year ago, the company has experienced incredible growth fueled by a growing labor demand. In the first quarter of 2021, the company more than doubled its customer base and tripled its total revenue.
“The way we do business has changed, the talent we choose to work with needs to change with it,” says Shahar Erez, CEO and Co-founder of Stoke. “But, we can’t expect it when neither side has yet had the proper support. These funds will follow us as we build out our own category and cement a single source of truth for business leaders to manage any and every aspect of freelance talent overhead, and to help them securely leverage the most dynamic kind of workforce.”