Episode 11 - Robin Lepercq - The evolving click-and-mortar model
Key take-away points
Created after leaving an IT services company, noticed the inefficiencies of the market
Freelancing was small compared to other countries but growing rapidly
Pivoted from a broad offering to a very narrow market
Strong focus on the market and focus on delivering high quality so very selective
Building a community for high end, technical freelancers
Opting for organic growth rather than raising funds
After working for years in IT services, Robin was let go. A situation like that is rarely welcomed or ideal when you’re raising a family, but thanks to the incredible French system, Robin was able to transition from this tough situation into launching a successful startup - FreelanceRepublik - that has an abundance of assignments. Not a bad place to be for a young startup.
The idea came about after collaborating with businesses and seeing how the process worked with developing projects and applications. The traditional model was struggling due to high costs and very long cycles for hiring IT teams. He could see that the future was definitely in empowering top freelancers who wanted interesting jobs where they could learn and grow.
One of the great things about the French safety net is that the system provides a strong layer of support for people who lose their jobs. Robin used this structure to help get FreelanceRepublik off the ground. It provided him with the help he needed during that period so he could try one model, before pivoting to what exists today.
What he learned during this process was that having a razor-sharp focus helped the company offer the best possible service both to companies and to freelancers. By staying narrow, he got to know his market and his market got to know him. Robin makes sure that FreelanceRepublik keeps a strict quality standard, so he’s been able to easily find missions for talented freelance developers and project managers.
Moving forward, he wants to evolve to have more click and less mortar in his click-and-mortar startup, though there will always be a need for a least a little mortar in the business of high-end recruitment.