Microsoft’s LinkedIn is reportedly set to enter the gig economy. According to a report by The Information, LinkedIn will launch a service called Marketplaces that will compete with the likes of Fiverr and Upwork. Marketplaces is reportedly set to launch as soon as September.
LinkedIn has 740 million users spanning across a wide range of companies and industries. If Marketplaces can take advantage of that network, it enters the gig economy several steps ahead of other apps and services that enter the market.
Marketplaces will focus on white-collar services related to consulting, marketing, and writing, says The Information. Some industries rely heavily on short-term gigs and contract work, such as app development, accounting, and consulting. Freelance work has grown during the global pandemic as well.
Fiverr and Upwork are the biggest names in the industry right now. The Information reports that Fiverr and Upwork made a combined $550 million in revenue last year. The cuts that Fiverr and Upwork take differ, but the general business model is similar. The services keep a cut of transactions that occur. The Information reports that the revenues of the two companies went up 37% in 2020 compared to 2019.
In separate discussions, Microsoft executives have reportedly discussed letting people pay freelancers through LinkedIn using a digital wallet from Microsoft. The Information states that it’s unclear how Microsoft wants to utilize a digital wallet at this time.
A LinkedIn spokesperson, Suzi Owens, told The Information that LinkedIn has seen a surge in people looking for and requesting services from people who have marked their profiles as “open for business.”
“In the future we’ll be building new ways to share more about the services you [could] offer directly through your LinkedIn profile,” Owens told The Information.
LinkedIn’s Marketplaces will reportedly look similar to Fiverr. LinkedIn is also considering taking a cut of transactions, according to the report. That would line up with the current business model seen in the industry.