Interview: AND CO supporting freelance success
WePay spoke with Mario D. A. Gabriele, Chief of Staff for AND CO.
Can you tell us about AND CO: who its serves, what it does, and why it is special?
AND CO helps freelancers run their businesses more effectively. With 40% of the workforce expected to be independent by 2020, providing support and infrastructure to this segment is more critical than ever. We do this by providing robust tools to simplify their workflow, including contracts, invoicing, time-tracking, task management, income management and reporting. Our integrated approach sets us apart — by using an integrated product, freelancers are able to eliminate inefficiencies.
What’s the AND CO origin story? How did the hustle start?
Both Martin and Leif [Martin Strutz and Leif Abraham are the co-founders of AND CO] previously worked as freelancers and experienced the pains of working independently. While there was considerably more freedom and flexibility, there was a lack of support in tackling day-to-day necessities. We set out to address that, and give freelancers the same advantages of working at a large company without having to sacrifice the freedom of being independent.
What metrics do you pay attention to for business success?
User engagement and contentment are critical. We want to make sure people are using the product and getting value from it, and of course, enjoying it. We have a unique mechanism in the app that allows you to talk directly to your ‘Chief Operator,’ an actual human being that’s invested in your success, and ready to answer any question about your freelance business. Even if they don’t know the answer, they’ll guide you to someone that does. That channel has been an effective way to gauge user happiness and engagement.
What’s an operating lesson you’ve learned that you often share with others?
We try to release something noteworthy, something genuinely exciting (not just an upgrade) every 4 weeks. Building that urgency, that creativity into our brand from Day 1 has been a source of operational efficiency for us, driving us to go faster, and be better.
When you look to other SaaS players for inspiration, what companies do you look to and why?
The gold standard, at least in the past few years, is Slack. Their user-first mindset and sense of design has evangelized huge swathes of users, and transformed the world of work. That’s what we want.
Can you tell us about your journey into offering payments – what led you to explore payments, how was the process, what did you learn along the way?
Offering online payments helps our users get paid significantly faster. WePay’s one-click activation of payments makes this even faster, and more seamless.
What’s next for AND CO?
You’ll see us expand and supercharge our core offerings, in addition to exploring other areas in which we can support the world’s freelancers.