StartupsFM had an interesting conversation with Adriana Ursache, CEO & Co-founder of Worksurfers. Worksurfers has another geektastic cofounder Vlad Bodi. Both of them embarked upon this journey to start Worksurfers, and yes Adriana’s passport is already filled to the brim! Both the founders have been passionate travelers and have visited over 30 countries.
Adriana is the Executive Director of the Creative Industries Association (CIA) in Romania, an NGO who helps creatives become better entrepreneurs, and helps build creative communities locally. She also has experience in European funds consulting for creative businesses.
Vlad has 10 years experience as an IT&C entrepreneur, also Managing Partner in Thinslices, a mobile cloud product development company based in Iasi, Romania.
The Worksurfers Story from Adriana…
We met in August 2011, at Creative Coffee, an informal networking event organized by CIA for creatives in Iasi. We both enrolled in Stanford’s online hi-tech entrepreneurship course (VentureLab) in April 2012, to learn more about how we can become better entrepreneurs.
One of the exercises during the course was to come up with and develop a start-up idea. We ended up combining two of our best ideas (a job platform for creatives and an AIESEC-like exchange program) into one. During the following two months, motivated by the Stanford course, we further refined the idea. Eventually, we decided to see if we could actually implement it. We both loved the concept because it embodies our values and passion for lifestyle, travel, creativity and business.
Currently, we have received $40,000 in equity-free funding from Start-Up Chile and are about to launch also a Indiegogo campaign to raise more money in order to build the greatest matchmaking platform for both creatives and companies.
Worksurfers.com matches creative travelers with work opportunities
Worksurfers.com matches creative travelers with short-term projects at their travel destination. It’s like Airbnb for short-term creative projects.
We are developing a job site to help creative professionals who travel (designers, software developers, photographers etc.), extend their travel time, with the opportunity to work on short-term freelance assignments at their destination, in exchange for in-kind contribution (accommodation, perks).
Worksurfers.com is set up in a way that makes it very easy for creatives and companies to connect and therefore collaborate. If you’re a creative professional looking for a short-term project you just need to sign-up, fill out your profile and portfolio (top three most relevant projects), and include your yearly availability. From there, the companies can see your details and decide if you’re the right professional for their project.
If you’re a company, you’ll also need to sign-up, create a profile and upload the project descriptions. You’ll receive applications directly from the Worksurfers.com platform and will be able to either accept or decline an applicant. From there, the two parties decide upon an in-kind compensation package.
Creatives and Companies. How do both of them benefit from Worksurfers?
Worksurfers.com relies on the idea that the creatives and companies cultivate a truly mutually beneficial relationship. For example, a creative professional is seeking to enrich his travel experience and also to extend their travel and so, taking on short-term projects in their travel destinations is the perfect way. Also, they are able to see a whole new aspect of the culture in their travel destination alongside the people they’ll work with.
Companies (especially the ones in emerging countries), on the other hand, are able to get access to international talent they might not have been able to afford in other circumstances. The creative working with them will add a new perspective to the project that’s being completed which helps to open the company’s eyes and broaden their horizons.
Is there is a rising demand of freelancers or workers in this era?
We estimate there are 15 million creatives who travel yearly. We plan to reach in 5 years 1 million. We are talking about those creatives who already embraced this work & travel lifestyle because we believe that 9 to 5 jobs (especially in the creative industries) era is definitely over.
How is Worksurfers different from any other freelance sites?
Worksurfers.com differs from other freelance sites because it’s based around our idea of a work-travel revolution. What does this mean? We want to help creatives to extend their travel time by using their skills and at the same time help companies get international expertise at an affordable cost based on an in-kind payment system.
Not only are companies and creatives completing short-term projects but they’re gaining new global perspectives that wouldn’t be possible without the travel component. We’re convinced that, for creative professionals, travel is just as essential as, say, physics courses for engineers and Worksurfers.com provides the perfect platform for that.