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Upwork Global Inc.
Upwork logo
Type of businessPublic
HeadquartersMountain View, California, United States
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleStephane Kasriel (CEO), Thomas Layton (Chairman)
IndustryFreelance marketplace
Alexa rankDecrease 551 (February 2018)[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. The full name is Upwork Global Inc.

Upwork has twelve million registered freelancers and five million registered clients.[4][5] Three million jobs are posted annually, worth a total of $1 billion USD, making it one of the largest freelancer marketplaces along with Fiverr.[6][2][7]


Elance was founded in 1999 by Beerud Sheth, Srini Anumolu and Sanjay Noronha.[8] oDesk was founded in 2003[9] by Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis.[10] Upwork was formed 18 months after Elance and oDesk announced their merger on December 18, 2013 to create Elance-oDesk.[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]

The company was listed on the Inc. 5000 list from 2009-2014.[13]

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

As of March 2017, it reported 14 million users in 180 countries with $1B in annual freelancer billings.[15][16] From its foundation in 1999, the company has raised a total of $168 million through 10 private equity funding rounds.[17]

The company filed for an initial public offering on October 3, 2018.[18][13]


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 to find and hire freelancers.[3]

The platform offers a time sheet application that tracks time and takes screenshots while the freelancer is working.[19]


  1. ^ "upwork.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  2. ^ a b "Elance-oDesk Becomes 'Upwork' In Push To Build $10B In Freelancer Revenues". Forbes. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b Lunden, Ingrid (May 5, 2015). "Elance-oDesk Rebrands As Upwork, Debuts Slack-Like Chat Platform". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  4. ^ "Two Pakistani organizations selected for Upwork Social Impact Program". www.techlist.pk. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  5. ^ "What's a workforce marketplace? How work will get done in the future | Networks Asia". Networks Asia. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  6. ^ "Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem".
  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. ^ Thomas W. Malone; Robert J. Laubacher. "The Dawn of the E-Lance Economy" (PDF). Harvard Business Review. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-01-31. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  9. ^ "California Secretary of State. Corporate filing date 1/27/2003". Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  10. ^ "The story behind launching oDesk - with Gary Swart - Mixergy". Mixergy. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  11. ^ Levy, Ari (December 19, 2013). "Elance Merges With oDesk to Boost Service for Freelancers". Bloomberg Technology. San Francisco. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  12. ^ "oDesk becomes Upwork, but what about Elance?". news.smallbusinesstrends.com. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Upwork Just Made a Surprising Decision That Will Change Everything For Freelancers". Inc.com. 2018-07-25. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  14. ^ Kasriel, Stephane. "Update on Site Performance and Issues". Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  15. ^ Snagajob. "Snagajob Appoints Former Upwork CEO to Board of Directors". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  16. ^ "TechDay - Upwork's SVP of Marketing Explains What It Takes To Perfect An Offering That Relies On People". techdayhq.com. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  17. ^ "Upwork | Crunchbase". Crunchbase. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  18. ^ Jiang, Ethel (3 October 2018). "Upwork — the largest freelancers' network — soars 50% in trading debut". Market Insidder. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  19. ^ Hardy, Quentin. "Big Brother in the Home Office".

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