Huddle

Early Stage

Where top creators invest in startups with their time.

Analytics

Raised to Date: Raised: $328,648

Aggregate Commitments $

Platform

Republic

Start Date

09/06/2021

Close Date

12/11/2021

Min. Goal

$25,000

Max. Goal

$1,070,000

Min. Investment

$100

Security Type

SAFE

Funding Type

RegCF

Series

Series A

Valuation Cap

$10,000,000

Discount Rate

20%

Rolling Commitments $

Status
Funded
Reporting Date

12/31/2021

Days Remaining
Funded
% of Min. Goal

1,315%

% of Max. Goal

31%

Likelihood of Max
Funded
Avg. Daily Raise

$3,423

Momentum
Funded
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Location

Miami, Florida

Industry

Business Services, Software, & Applications

Tech Sector

MarketplaceTech

Distribution Model

B2B

Margin

Low

Capital Intensity

Low

Business Type

Growth

Huddle, with a valuation of $10 million, is raising funds on Republic. The company has developed a social marketplace that allows creators and founders to connect and build together. The community-driven platform matches founders and creators based on their projects, timelines, and budgets, handles payment processing and facilities sweat equity. Huddle has supported creators to earn over $327,000 on its platform from September 2020 to June 2021. Michael Saloio and Stephanie Golik founded Huddle in June 2015. The current crowdfunding campaign has a minimum target of $25,000 and a maximum target of $1,070,000. The campaign proceeds will be used to bring on key hires and build technology and UX for freelancers and customers.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$244,050

$139,273

COGS

$179,848

$66,201

Tax

$0

$0

 

 

Net Income

$-52,777

$-7,371

Summary Balance Sheet

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$6,829

$24,755

Accounts Receivable

$59,200

$1,200

Total Assets

$66,029

$25,955

Short-Term Debt

$142,431

$22,603

Long-Term Debt

$11,738

$5,000

Total Liabilities

$154,169

$27,603

Financials as of: 09/06/2021
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Ratings KingsCrowd Startup Rating Methodology Article

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Synopsis

Gone is the idea that a traditional desk job is the only way to generate an income. In the 2010s, companies like Uber and DoorDash were the forerunners of the gig economy. Freelance talent marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr also emerged to offer gig opportunities for designers, engineers, and other white collar workers. 

COVID-19 only accelerated the freelancing trend. In an uncertain economy, both employers and employees took advantage of the flexibility offered by gig contracts. Now, freelancing is here to stay. A staggering 59 million Americans performed freelance work between 2019 and 2020, and freelancers are expected to grow to 50.9% of the American workforce by 2027.

Massive growth in the freelance workforce is good news for startups. Startups are uniquely positioned to take advantage of short-term, remote, freelance talent that can complete critical business projects without the time and expense commitment of a full-time hire. Huddle is serving as the matchmaker between freelancers and startups. Freelance designers, product managers, and more join Huddle to be matched with startup projects. A “Huddle” of freelancers can collaborate on a single project and earn both cash and equity for their work. Huddle seeks to create a win-win talent platform for both founders and freelancers. 

Huddle’s current Republic raise has been rated a Neutral Deal by the Kingscrowd investment team.

Price

Huddle is raising a Crowd SAFE at a $10 million valuation with a 20% discount. It’s an early-stage company that can’t offer a great deal of proof that founders and freelancers gain unique benefits from this type of talent platform, as opposed to mainstream alternatives like Fiverr and Upwork. However, Huddle did generate almost $250,000 in revenue last year and has already raised more than $1 million from venture capitalists. Those facts indicate decent traction. While Huddle is a tad overvalued for its current stage, existing traction and a generous 20% discount make the company’s price rating higher than average.

Market

The market for freelance work is growing rapidly. A 2020 study from Upwork found that freelancers contribute $1.2 trillion to the US economy. 59 million Americans performed freelance work between 2019 and 2020 — and that number is expected to grow significantly. The future of freelancing is especially bright given that Gen Z is the most freelance-friendly generation. Half of 18- to 22-year-olds freelanced between 2019 and 2020, and 36% of those freelancers got started during COVID-19. 

The global market for freelance platforms was valued at $3.4 billion in 2019, with a strong compound annual growth rate of 15.3% expected over the next five years. By 2026, the global market for freelance platforms is expected to reach $9.2 billion. The top five freelance marketplaces (Upwork, Fiverr, and the like) only held 25% of global market share as of 2019, which indicates space for new players to capture value. 

Huddle is well-positioned at the center of a booming freelance market. And plenty of new startups are in need of freelance talent. Freelancers are hungry for new ways to find gigs and earn money, so Huddle’s market rating is very high.

Team

Huddle was co-founded by CEO Michael Saloio and Chief Product Officer Stephanie Golik. The pair share a strong startup background. Saloio has six years of experience advising, coaching or working as an employee at various startups. Most notably, he was the top employee at SuperPhone, an SMS marketing startup, and founded his own venture studio in 2018 to help launch startups. Golik is a product designer with five years of experience. She served as the director of user experience and director of product for Mapfit, a mapping software company, and spent more than two years in product design at Cruise, a self-driving car business. Both Saloio and Golik have experience in early-stage leadership roles at growing companies, which sets them up for success as the leaders of their own startup. 

The Huddle team also includes COO Samuel Auch. Auch worked in blockchain consulting for three years before joining Huddle in late 2020. Diana Hawk leverages around five years of recruiting and client service experience in her role as Huddle’s head of community. 

The Huddle team has many years of combined experience in startups and business. However, all four team members are relatively early in their careers. There’s also a notable lack of an engineer or technical leader on the team, which is concerning given the ambitious vision for Huddle’s software platform. Therefore, Huddle’s team score is its lowest.

Differentiators

Many companies are competing to offer the best solution for freelancers seeking gigs and companies seeking freelancers. Fiverr and Upwork are the best-known freelancing platforms, but numerous other companies like Toptal, 99Designs, Freelancer.com, and many more offer their own twist on freelance talent matching. 

Huddle offers a slightly different perspective on freelancing. The company’s value proposition is curating a high-quality community of freelancers and founders. Huddle’s software also facilitates payments, project tracking, and other tools for freelancers. Perhaps the most notable difference between Huddle and other freelance platforms is that Huddle allows freelancers to receive compensation in the form of equity, which could be an enticing differentiator for both entrepreneurial freelancers and cash-strapped founders. 

At this early stage, though, Huddle doesn’t offer a great deal of functionality to distinguish itself from brand-name freelance platforms. Competition is fierce in the freelance market, and it’s too soon to say whether Huddle has what it takes to build a large enough marketplace. As such, Huddle’s differentiation rating is about average.

Performance

Huddle was supposedly founded in 2015, though the earliest date that a team member lists working for the company on LinkedIn is June 2020. It seems that Huddle may have evolved out of a venture studio started by CEO Michael Saloio several years ago, which raises some questions as to the origin of Huddle’s revenues over the last two years. 

Setting those concerns aside, Huddle has generated decent revenue over the last two years, with strong year-over-year growth between 2019 and 2020. The business brought in $139,273 in revenue in 2019 and $244,050 in 2020. However, Huddle’s net loss also increased from $7,371 in 2019 to $52,777 in 2020. 

Huddle’s financial performance is decent, but financial metrics don’t tell the full story of Huddle’s traction. Transactions have been increasing 25% month over month in 2021 thus far, with more than 300 creators and more than 175 founders in the community. It’s also important to note that Huddle has raised $1 million in outside funding from venture capital firms like Outlander and Backend Capital. 

Huddle isn’t a breakout success with millions in revenue yet, but the freelance platform is growing steadily with strong support from outside investors. If Huddle invests in user acquisition after this fundraise (all growth thus far has been through word-of-mouth), Huddle will be well-positioned to scale its platform and generate more revenue. As such, Huddle’s performance rating is strong.

Risks

Huddle is already live in the market, with strong month-over-month revenue growth and backing from venture capitalists. Those factors decrease risk for the business significantly, so the risk of an investment in Huddle is below average. The main risk factor that prospective investors should note is financial. Huddle isn’t generating quite enough revenue to justify a $10 million valuation at this point. Huddle will need to invest more dollars in technology development and user acquisition over time. Unless the company can bring in more revenue, its bottom line will likely suffer.

Bearish Outlook

Huddle seems to be a strong concept that’s well-suited for a growing market. However, there’s no evidence yet that Huddle will be a smashing success. Only a few hundred freelancers and even fewer founders have joined the platform in the last year. At those rates, it doesn’t seem like Huddle can sustain a transaction volume large enough to make significant revenue from 25% service fees.

It might come down to the fact that there are already many ways for founders to find freelancers. They can turn to Fiverr and Upwork, tried-and-true platforms with well-vetted talent. They can post roles on AngelList or a large number of other startup-oriented job boards. They can leverage social networks and startup-focused communities. Huddle may indeed be a bit better suited for founder-freelancer matching than those more generic venues, but without a strong product or brand, users might not be compelled to sign up for a whole new service. It’s too soon to tell whether Huddle can create a large enough community to scale and generate returns for investors at its current $10 million valuation.

Bullish Outlook

Freelancing is arguably the future of work. More than 50% of the American workforce will participate in some form of freelancing in coming years, with Gen Z leading the charge toward flexible gig contracts. And startups are often the perfect choice for freelancers. Since early-stage companies often don’t have the stable cash flows to invest in full-time employees, short-term contracts are attractive to founders. At its core, Huddle just makes sense. 

Huddle has a long way to go in developing a tech product that will actually accomplish the company’s ambitious vision. But Huddle has already generated revenue from founder-freelancer matchups thus far and can continue handling those projects with minimal tech support as it develops its product. With an experienced product designer on the team, Huddle seems likely to generate a well-designed, intuitive interface for founders and freelancers that will serve them better than generic platforms like Fiverr or Upwork

Lastly, Huddle has a unique model of allowing freelancers to acquire equity in early-stage startups. Startups can pay freelancers in either cash or equity, and Huddle takes a slice of either type. This kind of flexibility is likely to be attractive to founders and freelancers. And while equity payments are one reason that Huddle isn’t generating massive revenue, these small equity awards could prove to be a lucrative asset in the future if any Huddle clients make it big. There’s decent potential for either Huddle or one of the companies it works with to grow into a lucrative holding for investors.

Executive Summary

Huddle is a freelance talent matching marketplace designed for freelancers and founders. Startups post projects and form “Huddles” of freelancers to take them on. They pay their contract workers in either cash or equity, which gives freelancers fair compensation and founders the flexibility to pay in the way that makes the most sense for their company. The gig economy is large and growing rapidly, and Huddle is well-suited to carve out a slice of that market with its unique value proposition for freelancers and founders.  

At the same time, Huddle hasn’t generated a great deal of revenue yet. There are many competitors in the freelance platform industry, and it’s not clear that Huddle has what it takes to outperform more established competitors like Upwork and Fiverr. Plus, Huddle’s team doesn’t include technical talent, which is a notable gap given Huddle’s ambitious vision for its software product. Finally, the company is a bit overvalued for its current level of traction. Overall, Huddle has been rated a Neutral Deal.  

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com.

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Huddle on Republic 2021
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Platform: Republic
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $10,000,000

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