A new independent platform for teams, a wave of layoffs among startups and more

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Hhere has Forbes, we’ve written extensively about the gig economy, the side businesses, and the indie platforms that host them. We wrote on Fiverr. We introduced Upwork and its CEO, Hayden Brown. We’ve covered how quickly these platforms have grown, how to hire the best freelancers using these platforms, and how they provide a window into the future of work.

But as the freelance workforce continues to grow — with no signs of slowing — new startups are finding new ways to tap into this booming market. Forbes Associate Editor Emmy Lucas wrote this morning about A.Team emerging from stealth mode with a $55 million Series A funding round, led by venture capital firms Tiger Global Management, Insight Partners and Spruce Capital Partners. Other advisers and investors include leadership guru Adam Grant, the Roc Nation VC arm of Jay-Z, and the former founders or CEOs of Fiverr and Upwork themselves, Shai Wininger and Stephane Kasriel.

Rather than providing yet another freelance platform designed for individuals, A.Team is designed for teams. Like a Hollywood producer putting together a cast and crew for a movie, Forbes reports, A.Team’s business model pairs top talent (users must be screened) with worthwhile projects.

“The problem with people who try to leave companies and choose their own destiny is that there is nothing to back them up,” Ouzan told Lucas. “Fiverr and Upwork are great if you want to get some extra income on the side, but it’s definitely not the self-actualization route for the highly skilled, well-paid professional.”

This is an interesting approach that could have real value in the current movement towards what could be called the project economy. Having a team-based approach will add value to a model that too often means working at pedestrian level and sifting through an unverified mass of freelancers with varying levels of skills and experience. Yet while some professionals will exit completely on their own, detaching themselves from corporate employment, some companies like Unilever are already trying to offer employees more project-based work that allows them to step in and leave missions during different periods. We’re only going to see more startups, more trends, and more business models in this space.


FEATURED STORY

A wave of startup layoffs heralds a slow summer for venture capital investing

Among startups, there were more layoffs in the first two weeks of May than in any full month since January 2021, while more than half of companies surveyed in an internal portfolio survey ‘Andreessen Horowitz said they are giving up hiring in 2022. Read our full story here.


WORK SMARTER

Negotiate under pressure or stress? Here are tips for success.

How to protect yourself in a recession and watch for red flags that could mean you’re in line for a layoff.

Do you want to retain your best employees? Here’s how to conduct a good “stay” interview.

Five Ways Your Lack of Confidence Shows Up and Hurts You

Succeed in your “boomerang” recruitments with these key tips


ON OUR AGENDA

Carvana brakes: The used-car platform, run by billionaire Ernest Garcia III, laid off 2,500 employees last week in layoffs that have gone viral on social media, in part because many workers reportedly heard the news via Zoom. Our contributors explained why virtual layoffs in our distant world don’t have to be uncompassionate, and how firing people via Zoom can create new crises for companies that are already one.

Not all tech companies are freezing hiring and laying off workers: We’ve heard of job cuts and hiring freezes at various startups and tech companies. But for now at least, the spread seems limited to startups and tech. “We don’t see that at all,” Megan Slabinski, district president of Robert Half International in Seattle, told me in an interview last week. Slabinski works on recruiting for tech companies and tech jobs in other industries, and told me she “continues to see pent-up demand for tech roles across all industries.” At Microsoft, the tech giant plans to “nearly double” its payroll budget and increase stock compensation by at least 25%, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, it’s all part of an effort to retain people and help fight inflation.

No more quotas: A California Superior Court judge struck down a state law that required state companies to include women on their boards, saying the 2018 law violated the constitution’s Equal Protection Clause of State. Forbes Contributor Michael Peregrine writes that while the decision means other state terms are also at risk, it should not be seen as a threat to board diversity, which is steadily, albeit slowly, improving. For years. Meanwhile, Forbes Contributor Corinne Post explains how the loss of board quotas could impact workplace equality.

New Yorkers have a look at the salary: On May 12, New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed into law a law requiring most employers to include the minimum and maximum wage for positions in job postings beginning in November. While the law was originally supposed to go into effect in May, it was recently delayed and these changes could be good for everyone, writes Forbes lead contributor Tom Spiggle.

Do you have “Slack-splain?” To avoid confusion or misunderstanding when it comes to workplace messaging apps, many employees communicate too much to set the tone straight, according to a new survey from Loom, a video messaging app. The report, which will be released on Thursday, appears to aim to highlight why video might be a better alternative. But we’ve all been there too, saying a little more to make sure we’re not sending the wrong message in a business message (or inserting a smiley 😊 or a cringe 😬 emoji to help). Now there is only one name for that.


READING CLUB

The team behind Slack’s Future Forum, a consortium aimed at sharing practices on the future of work, came out with How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Teams to Do the Best Work of Their Lives. Designed as a “how-to guide”, it uses original research from the consortium, with case studies from companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Genentech and IBM on how they make the workplace work today.

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