Empowering the Freelance Economy

Former Depop CEO makes career move to scale up freelancer economy

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Freelancer platform, YunoJuno, has appointed Runar Reistrup, former CEO of fashion marketplace Depop, as CEO. The hire comes at a time where YunoJuno has experienced a 150% month on month increase in clients looking for freelance talent since the start of 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn saw the already growing freelance sector shift even further as companies saw the benefits of a contingent workforce – especially within knowledge sectors of creativity and technology, according to YunoJuno.

What does YunoJuno do?

It provides a portfolio space for freelancers in the tech and creative sectors. It handles project management, communication and payments between client and freelancers.

Why Reistrup, why now?

Reistrup will lead YunoJuno’s further expansion as it “capitalises on its growth” over the past 12 months, alongside the demand by its multinational clients to utilise YunoJuno’s technology in other markets.

What happens to founder Shib Mathew?

Shib Mathew, YunoJuno’s founder and former CEO has been appointed Executive Chairman and will continue to drive the company’s strategy alongside co-founder Hugo Rodger-Brown.

What can Reistrup do for the freelance economy?

“I’ve been impressed by how Shib, Hugo and the team have built one of the most impactful, community-driven, companies to come out of the UK in recent years and I’m excited to join and help build on what YunoJuno has accomplished to date.”

Runar Reistrup, CEO YunoJuno

Reistrup can build an international brand built on a platform model. He’s proven it before as a serial CEO/entrepreneur.

With IR35 on the heels of the UK freelancer and contractor economy, The Freelance Informer can see why YunoJuno is looking to build its presence beyond the UK and into new markets, such as the US, which anticipates half the workforce there will go freelance in some capacity in just a matter of years, up from its current 30%.

As the first CEO of Depop, Reistrup steered the digital fashion platform through multiple funding rounds taking it from early-stage start-up to “achieve market dominance in the UK”.

He also led the company’s successful expansion into the US, growing Depop to worldwide recognition in peer-to-peer social shopping.

Reistrup was also part of the founding team of mobile social network ZYB, which was later acquired by Vodafone Group, where he held several leadership positions including Global Head of Products and Services.

The courtship

“We had been speaking with Runar for many months prior to his appointment and our long courtship enabled him to truly understand the YunoJuno vision and why we believe in it so passionately,” said Shib Mathew, now YunoJuno Executive Chairman.

“Having someone with his calibre and experience join us is an incredible moment for the business as we enter into the next phase of our journey,” he said.

Who are YunoJuno’s clients?

YunoJuno has a marketplace and management platform with over 30,000 freelancers in the creative and tech sectors and is used by 7,000 companies including Google, BBC, Brewdog, Transferwise, Accenture and advertising agencies such as Ogilvy and Adam&EveDDB. Since it set up, its platform has managed half-a-billion pounds in freelancer bookings.

How do they handle IR35?

YunoJuno freelancers can often have a combination of inside and outside IR35 jobs and projects. They, as well as clients, count on YunoJuno to alert freelancers as to whether they are IR35 tax compliant for each job by classifying the work – Inside or Outside IR35. It gets a bit fuzzy at times as you can see below if a freelancer has to get IR35 reassessment.

The market drivers of the freelancer economy

Mathew said that the business has seen a 150% month on month increase in clients looking for freelance talent in January, so “the market is definitely on its way back up”, especially in the creative and tech sectors.

“Freelancers are proving to be the missing link between keeping a project moving and retaining flexibility in costs. We are seeing an increase in businesses looking for freelancers who can hit the ground running, and keep projects moving amid all the uncertainty,” he said.

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