Martin Strutz, Co-founder of AND CO Interview

Interview with Martin Strutz by Todd Stone

AND CO provides invoicing and time tracking services to freelancers, from developers and designers to writers and consultants. Among other features, users can input their work information and AND CO generates and submits invoices once the user’s work has been completed.

It was founded in 2014 by Strutz and Leif Abraham, both of whom worked at creative digital agencies. AND CO has received funding from BoxGroup (David Tisch and Adam Rothenberg) and Thrive Capital.

Strutz and Abraham met more than a decade ago working in advertising and created AND CO while working together at Prehype, a company that helps corporate clients become more entrepreneurial.

Q. I see the Gold membership for $14 per month. Do you have other revenue streams?

That is very much our primary revenue stream at present. Going forward, we’re excited to [make money] by facilitating payments to freelancers from clients. There’s an opportunity to earn a portion of the processing fees charged by the likes of WePay, Stripe and PayPal. Beyond that, we’re always interested in thinking about what other services independent workers are lacking, what problems they face, and how we can contribute to a solution. We expect those to provide additional revenue opportunities.

Q. About how many users do you have?

Our user base is comfortably in the tens of thousands.

Q. What is the salary of your average user?

Our user-base tends to be made up of high-skill professionals; the annual salaries we see reflect that. These are individuals that have, typically, held impressive positions in leading agencies, consultancies, and design firms. Their income reflects that expertise.

Q. Have you had any big surprises?

Too many to count! One in particular I’d cite: at first, AND CO placed a greater emphasis on connecting freelancers to professionals they might need to talk to: CPAs and lawyers, for example. What we learned is that those needs are infrequent, and not typically high-priority. There is considerably more demand for robust tools that remove the need for those conversations to begin with. For example, strong, intuitive contracts.

Q. Would you say that AND CO empowers freelancers? If so, how?

Definitely, it does. It frees up valuable time to focus on growing your business, personal growth, etc. and gives freelancers access to the professional tools they deserve.

Companies do some things phenomenally well when compared to freelancers. Typically, those are things related to process: payroll, accounting, internal protocols. We don’t want that expertise to remain solely in the domain of corporations.  AND CO sets freelancers free from taking that on themselves.

Q. Tell me more about the Standard Freelance Contract you created in partnership with the Freelancers Union.

We launched on February 22nd, 2017 and it has been one of AND CO’s greatest successes. It’s something we’re immensely proud of. We’re seeing really strong uptake across professions and countries. That was a major goal of ours: to make this as universal as possible, and as applicable as possible.

We’ve had thousands sign-up and use the Standard Freelance Contract already. It has proven to have filled a real need for independent workers.

Q. What are some of the benefits of operating AND CO out of New York City?

New York is an ideal city for us to be headquartered in. The freelance scene is especially strong, and perhaps more critically, diverse, which is true of NYC more generally. Whereas other hubs spike on one industry in particular, NYC is multi-talented. That means we’re close to freelancers from a ton of different industries. We’re grateful to learn from them all. It’s also great to be so close our friends at the Freelancers Union.

Q. To me, being a freelancer is a lot like being an entrepreneur. You control your time and make your own decisions. Can you see an application of AND CO for entrepreneurs?

First of all, I 100% agree. Freelancers are entrepreneurs — the company their running just happens to be themselves! That’s a trend we’re seeing across industries and job types — individuals are increasingly running themselves like a business.

In the short-term, early stage entrepreneurs and small business can definitely benefit from using AND CO. Creating contracts, tracking time, invoicing, income management and task management are all features relevant to those individuals.

In the longer-term, we hope AND CO will develop into a tool that will make life simpler for every type of worker. As more people switch between full-time, part-time, freelancing, side-hustling, and entrepreneurship, the need for an underlying infrastructure for work becomes all the more vital. That’s what we’re building.

 

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