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Passionfruit aims to transform freelancing for Gen Z

While there’s no shortage of freelancer apps out there, Passionfruit is aiming to transform the practice for Gen Z workers and professional employers. Peer mentorship programs are planned, and the platform will even help users manage their finances.

Freelancers rejoice, you may soon have a one-stop shop to grow and manage your independent empire.

A London based start-up called Passionfruit is taking the concept of professional services websites like Fiverr and Flexjobs and expanding upon them to make the process more accessible for both workers and employers.

Billed as the ideal freelancing platform for Gen Z, it claims to be the first of its kind to provide young people with a genuine choice between company employment and independent work. Its Crunchbase bio describes a ‘digital home to work, learn, and earn,’ where businesses can outsource work on demand.

With the gig economy set to make up half of entire job markets by 2027, 50% of US Gen Zers are already dabbling in private work or side hustles. According to many of those who’ve long been in the game, however, the administrative burden of going alone is often underestimated.

Statistic: Freelance participation in the United States as of 2020, by generation | Statista
In-fact, a recent UK survey of 450 freelancers (under 30), suggested that 45% of the working day is usually taken up by looking for jobs, organising invoices, chasing payments, and trying to upskill.

This is where Passionfruit comes in. Removing the need for a strong, pre-existing clientele network – which many Gen Zers obviously haven’t yet acquired – the company instantly matches portfolios with start-ups looking for both full-time employees and outsourced work.

Passionfruit takes a ‘blended commission’ from both freelancers and companies, but it aims to provide far more bang for buck than its competitors. Co-founders Raffi Salama and Issah Abdul-Moomin actually worked as freelancers previously, and wanted to eradicate the drawbacks they had experienced.

As the duo stated, they attempted to do ‘what Airbnb did to Craigslist’ with their website by offering up a ‘vertical-focused, cleaner approach for the next generation of talent.’

One big area of freelancer frustration that Passionfruit addresses is the arduous management of finances – which, of course, is also a big deal for Gen Z in particular.

The platform offers an overview of earnings made, taxes paid, insurance, and the status of invoices. Basically, Salama wants ‘all the nitty-gritty things’ typically inserted into an excel spreadsheet to be easily accessible with a few clicks.

A set date for client payment is also encouraged, meaning that chasing up employers will not be necessary.

For those who’re unsure whether or not to take the plunge into a solo enterprise, Passionfruit is offering up a mentorship program, much like an internship at a conventional job. This way, those who are just starting out in a particular area can lean on senior professionals for guidance.

‘We’re kind of recreating that environment of having colleagues that you can bounce ideas off that you would get in a normal full-time workplace,’ says Salama. It would certainly make freelancing a lot less solitary day-to-day.

Having just closed a seed round of $4.6m, co-led by Firstminute Capital and Playfair and joined by FJ Labs and Portfolio Ventures, Passionfruit has signed up a few hundred freelancers and start-up clients.

It will be interesting to see whether or not this website can indeed compete with household platforms like Fiverr and Upwork in the coming years, but we have every reason to believe it can.