freelance.de Opens New Markets for Freelance Professionals: A Conversation with Company Founder Simon Gravel
With over 235,000 freelancers and 41,000 companies as well as 600 personnel service providers, freelance.de is Germany’s leading freelancer platform. In an exclusive interview, company founder Simon Gravel explains how his platform will offer the ideal support for companies and freelance professionals in the future – and why the internationalisation of freelance.de is a win-win opportunity for more growth.
Simon, how has the freelance market changed since freelance.de was founded in 2007?
When freelance.de was founded in 2007, the freelance market was not very established in Germany. This form of work was not yet as popular and accepted as it is today. Although there were a few job portals on the market, there were hardly any platforms for professionals who offered their expertise on a freelance basis. With our innovative membership model, we introduced a new and effective business model for freelancers, contracting companies and agencies. As one of the first freelancer exchanges in Germany, we made it possible for companies to acquire specialists for their projects or for their customers’ projects in a flexible and organic way.
Were you able to keep your 10th anniversary promise to double the number of projects advertised?
The market has really exploded since the transmission speed of the Internet improved in 2007 and the acceptance of using freelancers in companies has risen sharply. Today, most companies value the advantages of self-employed specialists in their projects. With over one million successfully advertised projects and over 235,000 registered freelancers, freelance.de can confirm this uprising trend. We have outperformed our promise of doubling the number of projects advertised daily from around 250 to 500.
What is your next big milestone?
Our goal is not just to offer “more” projects on freelance.de, but to provide real added value for our users. For this reason, we are expanding our portfolio in three directions:
We want our freelancers to work on exciting projects. To ensure this, we are intensifying our strategic collaboration with companies. That makes it possible to gain exclusive access to projects through various initiatives for client companies and recruiters. We are constantly working on improving integration into the staffing and assignment processes of our customers and partners. This leads to more transparent, faster, and successful assignment cycles.
Also, we are tweaking how our freelancers showcase their work. The goal is to help them market themselves better and connect with clients faster. We’re not sticking to the usual presentation style; we’re adding things like ratings and live updates on availability and interests. This way, it’s easier to find the right match quickly. In addition, we are currently revising the portfolio presentation of our freelancers so that they can market themselves more effectively and build successful customer relationships more quickly. Other than that, we’re embarking on a global journey – international expansion is our next big move.
What was your motivation for expanding abroad?
I’m from Canada and have been working in various countries for many years. I’ve always been intrigued by different cultures, diverse working environments, and the unique approaches each country has to project work. With companies becoming more flexible about remote work, it just made sense to consider expanding abroad. Now, there’s a growing trend where foreign companies are on the lookout for flexible experts from Germany, and German professionals are increasingly seeking out international challenges. Our international growth aligns perfectly with this evolving trend.
How is internationalisation progressing?
In the past two years, we’ve come a long way. We kicked off our digital freelancer platform not just in freelance.cz and freelance.co.uk but also in freelance.ca and freelance.jobs in the USA – that’s eight countries in total! This means more exciting opportunities for both companies and freelancers. People are all about working beyond borders these days, and we’re right there, backing this work revolution with our platforms. Freelancers today can work from pretty much anywhere, and our goal is to support them every step of the way, from getting projects to finishing them successfully.
“Companies benefit from the internationalisation of freelance.de: they can advertise their projects in Europe or North America and hire specialists from both continents.” Simon Gravel, founder of freelance.de
How international is freelance?
“We’re a truly international company. Our offices in Munich, Brno, Montreal, and Naples work closely together. The freelance.de team includes people from more than eleven different countries. We use English and German as our main languages. Our teams boast a significant degree of diversity. International expansion holds paramount importance in our strategic objectives.
How is the acceptance in the new countries? How do the markets differ?
We’ve rolled out our business model exactly the same way in the new countries, tech and all. However, since platforms and markets vary in maturity, it’s still up in the air whether we’ll need to tweak things in certain places. The response to our business model has been positive overall, and we’re growing even faster in some areas. Our current international markets—Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, the UK, Canada, and the USA—showsimilar trends, based on what we’ve found. But we’re not one-size-fits-all; we consider market-specific analytics like pre-qualifying contacts, location details, and mobile validation in our approach. For example, we noticed that freelancers east of Germany tend to be on the younger side. And over in North America, people are way more into freelance professionals compared to Germany, thanks to specific market benefits like laws and employer attitudes.
“The opportunities for freelance.de to expand are obvious: more projects for our freelance community, more skilled workers for our project providers. The increased use of new technologies and the resulting opportunities to work remotely as a freelancer from a wide variety of countries will further expand the freelance.de world: a win-win situation for all participants.” Simon Gravel, founder of freelance.de
What are your next goals?
We’re looking to keep a closer eye on assignments to better judge their quality and how they perform. The idea is to connect specialists with clients and projects even more effectively. Our strategy involves getting hands-on throughout the whole process – from finding and selling to after-sales support. This way, both sides can benefit from things like free liability insurance, legal contracts, compliance checks, and account management. It’s a win-win!
Would you like to tap into other markets?
We’re planning to keep growing globally in the next few years. The English and American markets are key for getting new companies and freelance professionals on board. We’re aiming to have more than 1,000 high-value projects on our platforms every day soon, and our German freelancers can get in on that too. We’re always exploring ways to expand and improve our platform. It’s still pretty exciting around here!”