oDesk allows employers (buyers) to create online workteams coordinated and paid through the company's proprietary software and website.
The name is a short version of "no desk" in reference to the company's intent to enable anyone to work anywhere, anytime.
Prospective employers can post jobs for free, and freelance workers (“providers”) may create profiles and bid on jobs, also for free.
The company puts potential providers through “a rigorous screening.
The company collects 10 percent of the payment. Payments are made through oDesk,
which handles many bookkeeping tasks for the transaction. In addition to the marketplace aspect and the payment/bookkeeping services,
the company uses collaborative software, “oDesk Team,” that allows employers to see a provider's progress while he or she is billing time.
This aspect of the company's business model has drawn criticism.[by whom?]
The company describes itself as a staffing marketplace and management platform.
As of Jan. 10, 2009, the company reports that nearly 37,000 of its 170,000 providers are in the United States.
The company's site is entirely in English, and all transactions are made in U.S. dollars.
The site does not post statistics regarding locations of buyer companies,
but a comment posted by an oDesk employee noted that the majority are U.S.-based. In December 2009,
the company's self-reported tally of services paid through its site had passed $113 million.
The specific areas of expertise supported by the site include web development and a wide variety of programming/software development skills,
graphic design, writing and administrative support.
The company provides voluntary skills tests in various disciplines from English aptitude to specific programming
skills, and profiles include a feedback mechanism.
oDesk has raised three rounds of financing. The first was by Globespan Capital and Sigma Partners.The second round was raised in September 2006, led by Benchmark Capital and included the previous two investors.The third round was raised in May 2008, led by DAG Ventures and included the previous three investors.The venture investors on oDesk's board include Greg Gretsch, Venky Ganesan, and Kevin Harvey.
The company maintains that the increased “transparency” allows a buyer to have confidence in the billing done by a contractor whom the buyer may never have met and who may be half a world away. In an October 2008 interview with website Web Worker Daily, CEO Gary Swart said the work diaries “give buyers unprecedented visibility into work performed,” and that the Team software's “hassle-free tracking guarantees convenient, safe, and accurate billing for all work performed.
1. Finalist in PC Magazine’s 2006 Small Business Awards
2. oDesk is named Rising Star in Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 Program.
3. Finalist for the "Red Herring 100 Global" Awards 2007 and 2009.
4. Odesk is recognized as one of the "Hottest Silicon Valley Companies" by Lead411