Freelancer launches $15 million IPO

Australian startup has applied to list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) as it seeks to accelerate the company’s growth.

Freelancer is an online marketplace for outsourcing, freelancing and crowdsourcing services. The general offer for the IPO opened this week and will close November 7 at 5 p.m. (AEST).

Under the general offer, Freelancer will sell 30 million shares at 50 cents per share to raise $15 million.

It also will sell 5.1 million shares to selected employees under the employee offer, according to the company’s prospectus. It will offer 436 million shares following the offer if the employee offer is fully subscribed. At the offer price, Freelancer said its market capitalisation would be $218 million.

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Freelancer, founded in 2009, has 9 million users who have posted 4.9 million projects worth US$1.2 billion, the company said. Users have come from more than 247 countries, regions and territories.

In a letter in the prospectus, Freelancer CEO and Chairman Matt Barrie said he sees great room to grow the company.

“Today, I find it hard to believe that with 7.1 billion people in the world, only 2.7 billion people are on the Internet,” he wrote. “Almost 4.5 billion people are yet to connect. We are confident that there is tremendous growth potential ahead for the company, as the rest of the world’s population goes online.”

Barrie said Freelancer has steadily grown revenue since launch but “decided to list on the ASX to raise funds to accelerate this growth.” The company has predicted it will have $18.3 million in consolidated revenue at the end of this year.

“Freelancer has always focused on long-term growth at the expense of short-term profit, and it is expected that this will continue for the foreseeable future,” he said. “Therefore, the company plans to continue reinvesting strategically to achieve growth, which may result in a period of minimal operating profits.”

“We do not expect to pay any dividends in the near future. After successful completion of the offer, Freelancer will have no net debt and is expected to have sufficient cash balances to achieve its forecasts, to fund current growth plans and achieve its business objectives.”

Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie said yesterday at an Amazon Web Services event that there is not much funding available in Australia for startups who need to raise $1 million to $5 million.

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