It looks like the startup trends of 2009 are getting the resources they need to become lucrative businesses in 2010. Labor on demand provider Crowdflower closed a $5 million dollar Series A this morning from Trinity Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners. ReadWriteWeb named the elastic workforce phenomenon a major trend in 2009 and we caught up with one of Crowdflower’s happy customers to see how the elastic workforce is helping startups thrive.
Companies like Crowdflower save startups money by offering on-call labor at a fraction of the cost of on-site or contract workers. Tasks generally include data collection, content moderation and product grouping. Crowdflower’s crowning jewel is that employers only pay for tasks if they’ve been completed at a standard quality level. This quality assurance, coupled with the Crowdflower’s ability to help companies scale with its 125,000 member workforce, have allowed it to grow its business by 750% in the last year.
Skout CEO Christian Wiklund recently transformed his company from a location-based social network to a location-based dating community. While many perceive labor on demand as a low quality work, Wiklund explains otherwise.
“When we first received dating profile photos, we had two interns looking at grids of 100 photos at a time and they were still slow and couldn’t keep up with the volume. We didn’t want our users waiting 48 hours for content moderation. Crowdflower has three people look at every job and it’s a maximum of ten minutes for content review.”
Since moving content review to the cloud, Wiklund has saved 20% on staffing and is considering Crowdflower for profile verification and spam moderation.
Says Wiklund, “One of the advantages of cloud services is that you have enough workers 24/7. If someone calls in sick or doesn’t want to work that day, there’s always someone to get the job done. I’m not in the business of content moderation, I want to focus on my core content. Crowdflower does a great job of allowing you to do that.”