David Svensson, CEO and Founder of freelancer platform Pangara, expounds on its unique selling points and how Northern Europe can leverage on Southeast Asia’s talent pool
The global socio-economic landscape is undergoing an upheaval. One inadvertent side effect has been the rise of freelancing not just as a side gig but also as a main source of income — especially among millennials.
The spread of globalization and rapid adoption of the Internet — and faster connectivity — has enabled freelancing to be more prevalent, transcending geographical boundaries. The rise of online freelancer marketplaces such as Fiverr, Freelancer.com, 99designs, and Elance can attest to this sentiment. It is no longer a mere phase, but the new norm.
Vietnam-based startup Pangara is next in line to ride this growing movement: It wants to connect top Vietnamese tech professionals to Scandinavia. Despite its Southeast Asia origin, it is founded by an all-Swedish team.
Pangara was launched in March this year. The founders consist of lead investor and Chairman of the board Christopher Brinkeborn Beselin (former CEO and founder of Lazada’s Vietnamese chapter), David Svensson (CEO) and Fredrik Wesslén (COO) — both have previously worked at Scandinavian freelancer platform eWork.
e27 speaks to Svensson to find out more about the platform, why he wants to bridge talent in Vietnam to clients in Scandinavia, and how he hopes it will stand out from the deluge of existing freelancer marketplaces.
What is the motive behind connecting talent in Vietnam to Scandinavia?
While building large scale IT companies in both Southeast Asia and Scandinavia, the founding team came up with these three key insights:
1. The Southeast Asian IT engineering talent pool could competency-wise match Northern European engineering talent.
2. A booming IT sector and mega trend of the increasing speed of digitalization, even of “traditional industries” have caused a massive squeeze on IT talent in Northern Europe – prices skyrocketed and talent was in shortage.
3. Customer experiences on currently available “freelancer platforms” was poor and unreliable.
These things together sparked the idea of Pangara, a geographically independent freelance platform that could connect the (pre-tested) top talents of the IT engineering talent pool with the rapidly growing demand for IT developers in Northern Europe.
Why Vietnam? What are its strong points?
The main advantage of operating in the Vietnamese tech ecosystem is the great digital talent that comprises it!
There are very strong IT developers and other digital specialists in most fields in larger Vietnamese metro areas like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Even second-tier cities such as Danang have built up great centers of competency as well as tech sub-communities.
The community is still being shaped and that is part of the opportunity and is something Pangara is eager to take part in to promote Vietnamese IT talent through events, parties and competitions (for example, hackathons). Vietnamese tech talent is also receiving more and more recognition internationally, including Goldman Sachs’ investment in Momo.
How does Pangara differentiate itself from other freelancer platforms?
Pangara is very different from other freelancer platforms. We do have local teams in both Sweden and Vietnam, which is crucial to succeeding in the long run for us. Local teams mean great knowledge of the markets, and it also means that both freelancers and clients will get swift, relevant support.
Another thing that separates us from other platforms is that we thoroughly qualify both clients and freelancers. This means the freelancer will be sure the client they work with is serious, and for our clients it means that they will know we will only present pre-qualified and matching candidates. We have also made all process streamlined so that both freelancers and clients can focus on their project, and not time consuming administration and processes.
We also want to mention that since we only will work with the best freelancers and clients from Scandinavia, we can pay our freelancers really good hourly rates, and our rates are a lot higher than what our competitors can offer.
Have you raised any funding?
Our first investor is Christopher Brinkeborn Beselin who has invested single-digit-millions [worth of] Swedish Krona (as of publishing, 1 USD was 8.46 SEK). We have also raised external capital from numerous investors, including G4S Ventures/Orrinvest, Dedo Invest and the former CEO of eWork, Mr Claes Ruthberg.
What are your plans for the coming months?
Our focus is to build our brand among the freelancers in Vietnam. We will host events and seminars that we hope will attract top tech talent. Of course we are also doing a lot in the Nordics to establish Pangara as a great choice for companies on the lookout for top tech talent.
We also have a roadmap for our platform, and new features will be added continuously. At the end of this year we also aim to set up rep offices in other European countries, and we will also set up an office in Hanoi in the near future.
This post was originally published on e27.