“Anybody can go offshore and find somebody for four bucks an hour. But to find somebody who understands your culture and speaks your language, and knows where you’re coming from, that’s one step up,” says Josh Last, CEO and founder of GlobeTask, of his company’s approach. How important is the cultural factor? Tony Scott’s interviews with CEOs from around the world are just one of the blog’s attempts to gain a sense of how managers and workers view the role of national cultures in business. Opinions and models vary greatly, as we have seen in recent posts. On the one hand, onshoring, where U.S. companies outsource work not overseas but to U.S. workers in lower-cost rural locations, is on the rise. A recent Deal Radar profile featured Greytip, an Indian company committed to serving India-based clients. On the other hand, my interview with Gary Swart of oDesk shows that the virtual assistant market is becoming more popular, with an increasing number of opportunities for offshore workers. With GlobeTask, Last aims to avoid some of the disadvantages of cross-cultural teams yet allow clients to reap the benefits of outsourcing and off-shoring.
Last created the Israel-based company in 2006. He had previously founded Global Prepay Corp., a cellular services provider. During his time at Global Prepay Last developed partnerships with major telecom service providers and established marketing channels throughout North America, EMEA, and Australasia. He subsequently sold Global Prepay for approximately $450,000.
GlobeTask is a team-based virtual assistance company that serves corporate and private clients in North America, Western Europe, and elsewhere. Clients can hire virtual assistants for a few hours a week up to full time for three categories of tasks: GlobeTask projects, which include data entry, repetitive daily tasks, reports, and online research; GlobeGraphics projects, which include creating Web sites, PowerPoint presentations, WordPress templates, logos, and other graphics-related work; and GlobePro, which includes customer service e-mails, personal e-mails, copywriting, social media, and outbound sales. Last’s main reason for beginning the venture was that he recognized the unique pool of resources of Americans overseas. Clients receive one dedicated associate who speak their language and understands their business. The company employs only American and British staff located in Israel to give clients a combination of good rates and stress-free service.
There are a variety of packages offered. For $299 a month, a client can get ten hours of GlobeTask time, two hours of GlobeGraphics Time, and ten hours of GlobePro time. At the other end, for $749 a month, clients have 25 hours of GlobeTask, 10 hours of GlobeGraphics, and 25 hours of GlobePro. All tasks are billed in ten-minute increments, and hours can be rolled over for six months. GlobeTask does not have advertising on its site.
GlobeTask’s target markets are small to medium businesses, entrepreneurs, online retailers, and sellers of educational content – anyone looking for business support, graphics, and low-level administrative work. Most of its clients are 30–40 years old because they are more adaptable to the concept of outsourcing. GlobeTasks generally gets 150–200 hits a day unless it hits a hot topic on popular blogging sites like Digg, when traffic peaks at 8,000-9,000 in a single day. Some traffic is also generated by the company’s website and referrals from clients. Overall, GlobeTasks gets 15–20 new leads a day. Clients include Experian and ReMax Valley Properties.
The market is crowded. Some of the bigger players like GetFriday and AskSunday have prices similar to GlobeTasks’s but do not have born and raised Americans or other native English speakers. Others, such as Texas-based SheiffServices, have higher prices and many prerequisites to working with them. As the outsourcing and freelancing market has matured, more approaches and models have come up. Like GlobeTask, oDesk is useful for workers interested in establishing long-term relationships. Guru.com and Elance tend to act more like a clearinghouse, matching workers on a project basis, and GlobeTask itself has a provider profile on Elance.
The company was financed solely with the owner’s equity without turning to any outside sources. GlobeTask has no plans to seek additional capital. It is profitable and has revenues of $1 million–$2 million.
The strategy is to grow slowly and methodically under the current business model. There are no plans for an exit. Says Last, “It’s an enjoyable and challenging business, and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Deal Radar 2010