Santa Clara, California: Gig economy talent management platform Upwork has announced $1 million in grants, paid in the form of freelance labor, to companies who are involved in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
The company will provide credits up to $25,000 per project. Eligibility is based on an application process.
We’re looking to assist projects whose mission is tied directly to mitigating COVID-19’s devastating impact on individuals, communities and economies everywhere. There are so many ways to help and no project is too big or too small to have a meaningful impact.
The company had been struggling with what went from a bright start to 2019 - fresh off a successful late-2018 IPO - to a sell off of numerous high-charged fresh IPO stocks in late 2019 brought its share price down to $10, $5 lower than share costs at issuance. They are currently trading around $8.
However, one person's trash is another person's treasure. The coronavirus has impacted numerous sectors, but some stand to gain. Remote work tools (hello, Zoom) and solutions that offer flexibility to employers stand to benefit. Despite a recently announced disappointing Q1, as companies begin to look for additional flexibility when it comes to talent pools and costs, Upwork stands to gain. To that point, numerous institutional invests such as Vanguard began buying up the stock across Q1.
One possible reason for the lower-than-expected earnings was the unique nature of this economy, at least in terms of its impact on labor and hiring. While some obvious sectors have seen large scale layoffs (travel and leisure, etc), many employers remain reluctant to conduct layoffs if at all possible. As one tech-founder told Recruiting News Network off-the-record: "We're scared that after spending a ton of time and money into landing some pretty unique talent, if we lay them off now they may not come back. If we think this economy is going to recover relatively soon, then it makes sense to keep them on the payroll. But if it goes off the rails then we'd have to pivot and start layoffs. But no one in the Valley wants to be the first to pull that trigger. Not yet." If this is the case, then the urgent need for Upwork's services is yet to come - but it seems to be waiting in the wings.
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