One of the biggest problems I continuously see is a company struggling to get quality freelancers. The outsourcing process has major hurdles, most of which prevent companies to avoid it altogether, even with the reduced cost that comes with it.
One of the company's that believes it has a solution to this problem is Toptal.
While a fair share of companies who say they can solve the freelancer problem all the time, I found Toptal's approach quite unique.
Toptal is emerging as the go-to source for freelance designers and engineers, both to find one and to find work as one. Their model is simple: Explain to them the tech talent you're looking for, and you are matched up with an engineer, designer, or even a team to fit the need.
Instead of going to a site and picking a freelancer like on Upwork, Toptal searches as a curated matching platform to help pair you and most skilled professionals together. Toptal identifies a professional or a team within their network to be assigned to your project. According to Toptal, they only take the top 3% of applications submitted to enter their community of freelancers, ensuring the utmost quality via a rigorous screening process to meet the demand of its enterprise clients like JPMorgan Chase, Zendesk and Airbnb. As a company this is a life savor because it helps make the recruitment process much more streamlined.
Service is great for professionals too. In an article for Entrepreneur.com, Anna Johansson said of the screening process: "Passing Toptal's screening process gives you unparalleled access to meaningful projects with great clients."
The process consists of five distinct elements, beginning with "Language and Personality," a step taken to ensure mastery of the English language and a personality marked by passion and drive. In Toptal's vision, those traits are paramount, even ahead of technical acumen, as a technical skill without drive does not land you in an elite group of professionals. Skill assessment and test projects are also performed to further vet the potential candidates. How confident are they that the talent they bring on board will deliver? After a trial period working with your tech talent, you decide whether or not to continue. If you should decide not to, you're not on the hook for any payment. In essence, it's completely risk-free.
Says Mike Riess, owner at RiessGroup (and Toptal client), "Every developer I've hired on Toptal has been professional, skilled, and self-managing--a pleasant departure from the typical freelancer marketplace."
After that with the help of Toptal companies can smoothly and quickly integrate freelancers into any project management tool or collaborative environment used by companies stacks.
As outsourced development becomes more and more popular, it'll be interesting to see how companies like Toptal iterate their product to match the outsourcing trends and technologies that keep popping up to make the process as easy as possible.
Team chat systems like Slack and Pyrus are popular to companies of all sizes looking to improve communication within their teams. How will the ability to use systems like this affect how the companies like Toptal rank their freelancers?
Having $80M run rate revenue in 2015, Toptal became one of the fastest-growing tech startups. With recently hired former enterprise execs Toptal now able to compete with multibillion dollar IT services companies like Accenture and Wipro.
Continuing to edge competitor Upwork Toptal is the number one player globally in its space and was just named a Deloitte's Fast50 company. Expanding from early success with startups, agencies, and SMBs, Toptal has seen an uptick in performance with 190.77% increase in revenue growth from Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.
While Toptal makes the list of top freelance sites this year, I'm interested to see how it's matching algorithm evolves as the company continues to iterate through matches. If more and more quality freelancers keep joining the site, I expect Toptal's matching system to put it on the top of the market in 2016.