Ones to Watch: Work Smarter

Business, Ones to Watch | Fri 15 Feb | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: Work Smarter Co-founders Sebastian Kühn and Anika Riley

In our Ones to Watch section, we highlight some of the top up and coming businesses in Ireland. This week we feature Work Smarter.

What is it?

We are Work Smarter, a comprehensive toolbox designed to protect freelancers from late and non-payment. We’ve all heard of small companies and freelancers getting paid late, partially or not at all. Adding to that are the people who get lost in paperwork, taking time away from the work by which they make a living. And these aren’t isolated incidents- late payment alone plays a major role in 96% of freelance bankruptcies.

We are tackling this important issue by creating a platform that simplifies daily administration and ensures punctual payment. Our simple contract templates ensure freelancer and customer are getting a fair deal, while our unique escrow service fits seamlessly into a freelancer’s work flow. Because we will use blockchain-based smart contracts long term, we cut out the inefficient and costly middlemen so that payments can be made in real time and with low fees. Milestone payments can be executed at the touch of a button, ensuring everybody gets paid and the project goes ahead without delay. To round out our offering, we will also offer an intuitive set of work management tools that ensure contractors can manage their business from proposal to payment with ease.

Our vision is for freelancers to enjoy peace of mind and be able to focus on the work they really love.

Who’s behind it?

We are a two-person, tried and tested team. We worked together on our own four-founder startup in 2016-17 where we truly learned to work well in a team with different characters and skill sets. We also learned to support and care of each other through the inevitable highs and lows, and were humbled in accepting this help ourselves.

Wanting to avoid future pitfalls and invest in ourselves, we applied for the MSc in Entrepreneurship at Trinity. During the program, we learned a lot and could contribute our experiences, all the while building our new business.

As a team, we come from two completely different directions in industry. This allows us to complement each extremely well in many areas. Sebastian is the more creative and analytical, bringing his technical background and problem-solving skills to the table. Anika, on the other hand, uses her soft skills to motivate, network and communicate with our future customers. These will also be critical when building up our team.

How is it funded?

We have invested about €30,000 of our savings into bootstrapping our company so far and have gathered a bit over €7,000 of funding through the Trinity accelerator program LaunchBox, which also provided us with free office space.

We are currently working out of the Huckletree coworking space, where we are participating in their 12-week Alpha accelerator program. In Huckletree, we have the unique opportunity to collaborate with other teams in a creative environment, and the Huckletree team are supporting us with everything we could need.

Future plans?

So far, we have lined up multiple pilot projects and have gotten to work on them. We are currently looking to raise our seed round and are hoping to find an investor soon, so we can better implement these pilots and fully develop the product. After the basic concept and the pilots have been implemented, we can replace individual parts of our application with the integration of blockchain-based smart contracts. We see a great potential opportunity in this new technology, as it allows us to offer freelancers a much faster and more secure experience in their client interactions. Our goal is that every freelancer can focus on the business they love and be fairly paid for their hard work.