Stoke, a Palo Alto, Calif., company that specializes in flexible workforce management, announced it has raised $15.5 million to expand its efforts to connect U.S. companies with freelancers, contractors and gig workers.
The Series A funding round was led by Battery Ventures, with participation from previous investors including TLV Partners, Dynamic and Loop. With this round, the company has so far raised $20 million since its founding in 2019.
According to an analysis from Statista, the number of freelance workers is expected to grow to more than 50% of the total U.S workforce by 2027. By that year, it is projected that 86.5 million people will be freelancing. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to accelerate the freelancer trend, said Stoke executives.
"The way we do business has changed, the talent we choose to work with needs to change with it," said Shahar Erez, CEO and cofounder of Stoke in a press statement. "But, we can’t expect it when neither side has yet had the proper support. These funds will follow us as we build out our own category and cement a single source of truth for business leaders to manage any and every aspect of freelance talent overhead, and to help them securely leverage the most dynamic kind of workforce.”
According to officials at the privately held company, the customer base has doubled and revenue has tripled in the first quarter of 2021. That's attracted the eyes of investors.
“Having one tool that can source, onboard, manage, pay and ensure compliance with this extended workforce helps companies become more productive and stay agile without adding risk," said Itzik Parnafes, a Battery general partner who is joining Stoke’s board, in a press statement.
Stoke's platform enables companies to get freelancers hired quickly and pay invoices across 190 countries, while giving management, finance and human resources teams visibility and control over budgets, in addition to legal and tax compliance.
In May, Stoke launched automated onboarding and offboarding workflows to make that process easier.