Just Started – Gigged: Rich Wilson and Craig Short

Answering the UK’s tech talent shortage is Gigged, a brand-new AI platform that’s helping businesses to connect with digital freelancers.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Name of founder(s): Rich Wilson, Craig Short
Age(s) of the founder(s):
36 and 32
Location:
Glasgow
Date launched:
05 July 2021
Number of employees
: 8

What does your business do?

We help UK businesses to source and onboard on-demand tech talent using AI.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Rich spent 12 years in the recruitment industry then 2 years as an advisor at Gartner. Craig spent 12 years as a freelancer at major banks. We felt we could build an easier way for clients to find tech freelancers using AI.

How did you know there was a market for it?

The US market is strong with Upwork, Fiverr et al. The UK had been slow to adopt but with COVID-19 accelerating remote working and a massive shortage of tech skills, we knew there was a market for our product.

What were you doing before launching your business?

Rich worked for Gartner and Craig was CTO at Stellar Omada.

Have you always dreamed of starting a business?

Yes, it has been both our dream for over 15 years.

How did you finance your business?

Initially with our savings then with a grant from Innovate UK. We have just closed a £600k seed round.

Explain your business model and how you make money.

We get paid every time a freelancer completes a project on our platform. We take a 10% free from the client, and a maximum 5% fee from the freelancer. There is no subscription fee.

What are the main challenges you have faced? And how did you overcome them?

Trying to take on major companies from Scotland is always a challenge as we are not seen as innovative enough. We have surrounded ourselves with strong advisors who have brought credibility.

What has your experience been of starting a business during a pandemic?

We started this as a side project when COVID-19 hit and looked at the pandemic as an opportunity. We built a team of 20 AI engineers remotely to help build the MVP.

Describe your first breakthrough.

Receiving an Innovate UK grant was when we really knew we were onto something, as the feedback was awesome.

How has Brexit impacted your business? Do you think it will in the future?

If anything, Brexit has made the demand for our platform stronger as it is more difficult to hire tech resources permanently. Companies are looking at on-demand models. I think Brexit and IR35 will ensure our model gains traction quickly.

What advice would you give to other aspiring business owners?

Surround yourself with good people and create a really robust plan first.

What is one resolution you have for your business this year?

To have fun as we scale

How do you see your business developing in the next three years?

In 3 years, we will be the leading platform in the UK, and will have just closed a Series A fund raise.

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Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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