Upwork opened its first day of trading on the NASDAQ up 53% after opening at $23 per share. The $23 opening was up significantly from the $15 per share price placed by investors prior to the start of trading.
A New Source of Funding for the New Company
Upwork is the re-branded merger of freelance marketplaces, Elance and oDesk. The new company, which trades under the ticker symbol UPWK, intends to raise roughly $102 million in new cash for its balance sheet. The IPO raised more than $187 million through the sale of 12.5 million shares.
An Enormous Marketplace
Upwork is the world’s largest online freelance network. According to their SEC filing, Upwork claims, “We operate the largest online global marketplace that enables businesses to find and work with highly-skilled freelancers as measured by gross services volume.” And apparently business has been doing well. Further on in the release Upwork states, “In the twelve months ended June 30, 2018, our platform enabled $1.56 billion of gross services volume, across 2.0 million projects between approximately 375,000 freelancers and 475,000 clients in over 180 countries.”
On the Right Trajectory
According to the filing, in 2017 Upwork saw $202.6 million in total revenue. This number was up substantially from the $164.4 posted by the company in 2016. The company also states that in 2016, they faced $16.2 million in total losses, however this number was also dramatically reduced the next year in 2017 when they posted only $4.1 million in losses. According to the company, these losses were expected and were due in large part to significant investments in selling and administrative expenses.
Upwork is a Company on the Rise
Upwork came to be in 2014 when two of the largest online freelance marketplaces, oDesk and Elance, combined. In 2015, the company was re-branded, Upwork. Today, Upwork allows businesses and independent professionals to collaborate and work together online. Currently, Upwork has more than twelve million registered freelance users and more than five million registered clients. Annually, more than 3 million freelance jobs are posted and more than $1 billion in marketplace earning potential is made available.
Citigroup, Jeffries, and RBC are underwriting the IPO.