London-based Passionfruit, a freelancing platform, announced on Wednesday that it has secured $3.6M (approximately €3.5M) in an oversubscribed Seed round of funding.
The round was co-led by FirstMinute Capital and Playfair. FJ Labs, Portfolio Ventures, Atomico, Accel, and Notion scout networks, as well as angels such as Mandeep Singh (Trouva), Xav Collins (Turo), and execs from Stripe, Airbnb and Workday also participated in the round.
The announcement comes eight months after raising $700K led by Playfair in December, 2021.
Passionfruit says it will use the capital to expand its product offering and commercial reach across Europe and North America.
What does Passionfruit solve?
When freelancers find work, approximately 45 per cent of their time goes into finding new clients, dealing with administrative burdens, and trying to learn more about their craft, adds the UK company.
Having to handle everything by themselves means that many cannot afford to leave the full-time corporate cushion, where working, learning, and earning is handled centrally, even if they’re fed up in their job.
Raffi Salama, co-founder of Passionfruit, says, “Instead of yet another freelancer platform that simply digitises transactions that could and would happen without it, Passionfruit is bringing a completely new workforce to the market. Gen Z will represent 27 per cent of the global workforce by 2025 and it has been so inspiring to see our specialists as they say goodbye to the Victorian-age structure of the 9-5 and begin a new life working on their terms. Better still, companies love working with them this way. Smart businesses are realising that there’s a more elastic and efficient way to manage their relationship with talent.”
Here’s where Passionfruit comes into play.
Passionfruit: What you need to know
Founded by Raffi Salama and Issah Abdul-Moomin, Passionfruit is on a mission to make freelancing work smooth and efficient for everyone. The company connects individuals to pre-vetted specialists at fair prices.
Issah Abdul-Moomin says, “To date, freelancing has been the preserve of a select group of people that have access to work through private offline networks. We are here to make it viable for the masses. Of course, we’re not saying that nobody will ever work full-time again, simply that there are tens of millions of young people that would prefer to run their professional lives differently. We exist to give them that choice.”
The platform gives GenZs a choice between company employment and freelancing by recreating and improving the end-to-end array of services that full-time work provides.
Currently, the company is focusing on marketing specialists. However, they are planning to expand into adjacent disciplines to meet customer demand.
Passionfruit is headquartered in London and has an office in Lisbon, Portugal.
FirstMinute Capital is a venture fund with $315M in assets under management. It invests in seed stage tech companies. The company is sector agnostic and invests across the UK, Europe, and the US.
Adriana Vitagliano, Senior Associate at FirstMinute Capital, says, “As we look to the coming decades, corporate monogamy will no longer exist in the same way and we’re excited to see how the right platform can completely reshape the freelance economy experience. Raffi and Issah are exceptional entrepreneurs – passionate, thoughtful, and incisive – and we couldn’t imagine a more perfect duo to tackle this challenge. We’re confident they’re leading the charge by democratising access to flexible autonomy for the next generation, and are thrilled to be partnering with the Passionfruit team on this journey.”
Playfair Capital is a pre-seed fund that invests early in just six companies a year. Playfair is also sector agnostic and invests across the UK and Europe.
Henrik Wetter Sanchez, Principal at Playfair Capital, says, “Raffi and Issah have an uncanny ability to appear to be working in the future. Being two steps ahead in your thinking and execution is the hallmark of founders who can not just follow, but lead category-defining shifts in industries. I could not be more convinced by their vision of a freelance-led Gen Z workforce that urgently needs a demand-led digital home to work, learn and earn. I’m delighted to see Playfair tripling down in this round and continuing to build Passionfruit with this team.”