Upwork, formerly Elance-oDesk, is a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely. In 2015, Elance-oDesk was rebranded as Upwork. It is based in Mountain View and San Francisco, California. The full name is Upwork Global Inc.
Upwork has twelve million registered freelancers and five million registered clients.[ Three million jobs are posted annually, worth a total of $1 billion USD, making it one of the largest freelancer marketplaces along with Fiverr.
Elance was founded in 1999 by Beerud Sheth and Srini Anumolu. oDesk was founded in 2003 by Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis. Upwork was formed 18 months after Elance and oDesk announced their merger on December 18, 2013 to create Elance-oDesk. With the launch of Upwork, the oDesk platform was upgraded and rebranded and the company announced that the Elance platform would be phased out within a couple of years, resulting in a single freelance marketplace.
In early September 2015, the service experienced an outage which led to an apology being issued by CEO Stephane Kasriel. This led to the introduction of an Upwork Status page to offer freelancers and clients greater transparency.
As of March 2017, it reported 14 million users in 180 countries with $1B in annual freelancer billings. From its foundation in 1999, the company has raised a total of $168 million through 10 private equity funding rounds.
The company is expected to file for an initial public offering in 2018.