oDesk Reports 2012 Gross Services Revenues of $360M; 60% Year-Over-Year Growth in Hours Worked/Billed

Yesterday, an oDesk spokesperson briefed me on the company's 2012 results and directions. oDesk is a privately-held, online staffing platform business, headquartered in Redwood City, CA.

In 2012, oDesk reported achieving a total Gross Services revenue number of approximately $360M (contractor billings plus mark-up and other revenue sources). 

The company did not report its year-over-year growth in Gross Services revenue; however, we believe we can look to reported growth in “contractor hours worked/billed” as a rough proxy.  oDesk reported about 22M hours worked/billed in 2011 vs. 35M in 2012  (equating to approximately a 60% year-over-year growth hours worked/billed). Hours worked/billed in 2009 were 5M.  All of this growth to date has been entirely organic.

In 2012, the top 5 countries (in terms of dollars spent for oDesk contractor services) were (in rank order):  (1) US, (2) Australia, (3) Canada, (4) UK, and (5) United Arab Emirates. The top 5 countries (in terms of dollars earned by oDesk contractors) were (in rank order):  (1) India, (2) Philippines, (3) US, (4) Ukraine, and (5) Pakistan.   

Dollars spent by clients outside of the US on oDesk contractors has been growing over the last several years. Based on CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) over the past two years (base year = 2010), the countries with the highest growth rates in client spend were (in rank order): (1) Ukraine, (2) Russia, (3) India, (4) Malaysia and (5) China. Clearly, other parts of the world outside of the US are catching on as users/buyers of online staffing services — not just contractors offering their labor services.

While in 2012, the majority of dollars spent continued to be in technology, especially IT (e.g., software development, website development), categories, the fastest growing specialized skill categories in terms of Gross Services dollars (based on 2 year CAGR), were predominantly non-technical:

1. Engineering & technical design (Tech)

2. Project management

3. Translation

4. Copywriting

5. Game development (Tech)

6. Mobile apps (Tech)

7. Advertising

8. Illustration

9. Bookkeeping

10. Video production

Over this 2-year period, only 3 of the 10 fastest growing skill categories were technology skill categories, reflecting a broadening in the types of work intermediated by the oDesk platform.

Clearly, 2012 was a year of significant organic expansion for the oDesk online staffing platform business, indicating the continuing rapid growth in the world-wide market for fractional, online-platform-intermediated work arrangements and labor services.

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