Sramana: In 2005, you raised money for OnForce. What did you use that money for?
Jeff Leventhal: I invested in the team. I believe value creation for a business depends on the idea, team, product, first date of sale, cash flow break even, and exit. Those are the most important moments for an entrepreneur in building a business. I put team ahead of product. I viewed this as an opportunity to invest in the team and we did bring in an unbelievable amount of talent. I focused on operations, sales, and engineering.
Sramana: How did you exit the business?
Jeff Leventhal: We had the opportunity to sell the business at a significant valuation. I was excited about it. It was life-changing money. I felt that it was a good opportunity. There was a group in our company who was also a client, who wanted to buy the company. Other shareholders did not want to sell the company but were willing to buy out shareholders at that valuation. That was an amazing opportunity for me to monetize a great investment and pursue other ideas. I love creating value.
Sramana: To me, it sounds like you are a real entrepreneur. You understand the difference between scaling and creating a business. There are not that many great entrepreneurs who can start something and turn it into something.
Jeff Leventhal: It took me up until a couple of years ago to call myself an entrepreneur. I have so much respect for the word. An entrepreneur creates value, creates jobs. I am proud to call myself an entrepreneur now.
Sramana: What came next?
Jeff Leventhal: I was very excited about how work got done in the ecosystem that I had. More often than not, someone would take the word opportunity and give it to their friends. I started thinking about the social web. When people were making decisions about things, they would think about a lot of different things.
I started getting interested in building tools that gave people visibility into local recommendations. I ultimately built a business called Spinback. It really did not have the time to develop into a company before it was acquired by Buddy Media. They really loved the tools that we had built including tools that visualized recommendations and sharing of product across the web. I became a large shareholder of Buddy Media.
Sramana: That brings us up to WorkMarket. What is the concept of WorkMarket?
Jeff Leventhal: Freelance is growing dramatically. When you look at capital management at a company, you will see three things. There is full time work, temp and contingent labor, and freelance. In 1990, freelance did not even register as a metric.
In 2000, it started to register as a metric, and in 2010, 7% of the workforce was freelance. By 2020, it is estimated that 50% of the workforce will be done by freelancers. Freelancers are micro-entrepreneurs. It is also an amazing way for young people to get into the workforce. It is a career option.