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Industry Freelance marketplace, Online outsourcing
Founded Mountain View, California
Headquarters Mountain View, California
Area served
Key people
Stephane Kasriel (CEO), Thomas Layton (Chairman)
Website www.upwork.com
Alexa rank Increase 373 (October 2016)[1]

Upwork, formerly Elance-oDesk,[2] is a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely. In 2015, Elance-oDesk was rebranded as Upwork.[3] It is based in Mountain View and San Francisco, California.

Upwork has twelve million registered freelancers and five million registered clients.[4] Three million jobs are posted annually, worth a total of $1 billion USD, making it the world's largest freelancer marketplace.[5][6][7]


Upwork was formed 18 months after Elance and oDesk announced their merger on December 18, 2013 to create Elance-oDesk, an online workplace with a combined total 8 million registered users.[8] oDesk was founded in 2003[9] by Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis.[10] Elance was founded in 1999 by Beerud Sheth and Srini Anumolu.[11] With the launch of Upwork, the oDesk platform was upgraded and rebranded and the company announced that the Elance platform would be phased out within a couple of years, resulting in a single freelance marketplace.[12]

After the re-branding of Upwork in early 2015 criticism surfaced among freelancers because of various bugs and slow loading speed of the Upwork platform.[citation needed]

In early September 2015, the Upwork service experienced an outage which led to an apology being issued by CEO Stephane Kasriel.[13] This led to the introduction of an Upwork Status page to offer freelancers and clients greater transparency.[14]


Upwork allows clients to interview, hire and work with freelancers and agencies through the company's platform. The platform now includes a real-time chat platform aimed at reducing the time it takes to find and hire freelancers.[15]

On 3 May 2016, Upwork announced that the service fee for freelancers will change from flat rate of 10% to a "sliding service fee" of 5% to 20%.[16][17]

As of June 21, 2016, freelancers pay a "sliding service fee" based on total lifetime billings with each client: 20% for the first $500 billed to the client across all contracts, 10% for total billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000, and 5% for total billings with the client that exceed $10,000.[18] Clients pay a 2.75% per payment processing fee; some clients are eligible to pay a monthly flat processing fee of $25.[19] Payments can be made using credit cards, PayPal, or bank transfer.[20] Payments are made through Upwork's escrow system, which transfers the funds to freelancers after a 6-day period.[21] An overwhelming majority of Upwork community members reacted negatively to the payment changes. [22]

As of June 2016, Upwork reports $1B in annual freelancer billings, 12 million freelancers and 5 million clients worldwide.[23] Freelancers can be hired for jobs on app and software development, engineering and data science, creative services such as graphic design and writing, business and administrative. The company provides voluntary skills tests in various disciplines from English aptitude to specific programming skills, and profiles include a feedback mechanism.

To ensure the freelancers are billing fairly for jobs billed hourly, the platform offers a time sheet application that tracks time and takes screenshots while the freelancer is working.[24]

Upwork has a mobile app for both Android[25] and iOS,[26] as well as a time-tracking app for Windows, OSX, and Linux.



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  2. ^ "Elance-oDesk Becomes 'Upwork' In Push To Build $10B In Freelancer Revenues". Forbes. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (May 5, 2015). "Elance-oDesk Rebrands As Upwork, Debuts Slack-Like Chat Platform". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  4. ^ "About Us". 
  5. ^ "Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem". 
  6. ^ Elaine Pofeldt (5 May 2015). "Elance-oDesk Becomes 'Upwork' In Push To Build $10B In Freelancer Revenues". Forbes. 
  7. ^ Lawler, Ryan (November 25, 2014). "Eight Months After Merger, Elance-oDesk Raises Another $30 Million Led By Benchmark". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  8. ^ Levy, Ari (December 19, 2013). "Elance Merges With oDesk to Boost Service for Freelancers". Bloomberg Technology. San Francisco. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
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  12. ^ "oDesk becomes Upwork, but what about Elance?". news.smallbusinesstrends.com. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Kasriel, Stephane. "Update on Site Performance and Issues". Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "Upwork Status". 
  15. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "Elance-oDesk Rebrands As Upwork, Debuts Slack-Like Chat Platform". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  16. ^ Pofeldt, Elaine. "Freelance Giant Upwork Shakes Up Its Business Model". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-05-06. 
  17. ^ "Upwork's New Pricing: A Message from the CEO". Upwork Blog. 
  18. ^ "Freelancer Pricing - Upwork". www.upwork.com. Upwork. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  19. ^ "Fee and ACH Authorization Agreement - Legal Pages". www.upwork.com. Upwork. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  20. ^ "Payments and Productivity on Upwork". www.upwork.com. Upwork. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  21. ^ "Weekly Billing Cycle". Upwork Help Center. Upwork. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  22. ^ "Pricing Announcement Follow-Up". 4 May 2016. 
  23. ^ "About Us". upwork.com. Upwork. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  24. ^ Hardy, Quentin. "Big Brother in the Home Office". 
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  30. ^ "Announcing the 2011 AlwaysOn Global 250". AlwaysOn. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "Announcing the 2012 OnDemand 100 Top Private Companies". AlwaysOn. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  32. ^ "Announcing the 2011 OnDemand 100 Top Private Companies | AlwaysOn". Alwayson.goingon.com. 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  33. ^ "Fastest-growing Silicon Valley private companies named". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
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  36. ^ "Slideshow: The fastest-growing Bay Area companies". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  37. ^ Young, Eric (October 25, 2010). "CEOs say staying nimble, efficient aids growth". 
  38. ^ Chan, Stacie (April 1, 2011). "Despite Slow Economy, Six County Companies Are Posterchildren for Growth". Patch.com. 
  39. ^ "Welcome to TiE50 Awards". 
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