Interviews

Aegora: The first networked professional marketplace

Aegora

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What is Aegora?

If you’ve ever used online freelance marketplaces, you’ll know that the business match-making process is rarely smooth. Aegora changes all of that by creating the first networked professional marketplace.

Imagine a professional network like LinkedIn, where degrees-of-connection tell you how connected you are to any potential client or consultant. Then add a unique project management system that builds negotiated contracts, flexible milestones, and global payouts into the system.

Who is your target user?

Entrepreneurs, professional consultants, freelancers, anyone who wants to connect with high-quality talent and clients easily.

Why did you build Aegora? What problem are you taking on?

Freelancing and hiring online should be easy for everyone. Existing marketplaces don’t fulfill their promise, so we built Aegora to use natural social forces and solve the business match-making problem.

How is Aegora different from what is currently available?

No-one has brought together the socio-professional network and the marketplace before – it’s amazing. Personal contacts, introductions and trust across the interpersonal network are how we all do business in the real world, yet Aegora is the first to bring that online. At the moment Aegora’s concentrating on providing a better alternative to online freelance marketplaces, but the potential is to move the world of work beyond that, to a position at which building businesses by hiring and working online, globally, is an entirely mainstream career choice that’s easy for everyone.

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

I’d been freelancing and hiring freelancers for many years – across the world; living in tropical East Asia, working for clients in the UK and US, hiring folks in the Philippines, Estonia, UK, all over – when a MBA researcher from a business school in Spain called me up out of the blue and asked me, as a high-profile user of online freelance marketplaces, why they’d never achieved their advertised potential. As far back as 1998, smart folks at places like the Harvard Business Review had been predicting the death of traditional employment, due to the potential of working and hiring online. Over a decade later, they were half-right; the traditional company structure was going the way of the dodo and the flared trouser, but contrary to expectations nothing was really replacing it for the mainstream person.

I thought that was rather a good question. I used these underperforming marketplaces, but I was out in the boonies of rural Taiwan so I didn’t have much choice. My situation, aesthetically lovely as it was, was isolated from quality clients so I had to work through online marketplaces. It made me hungry enough to push through to success, but someone in, for instance, New Jersey, wouldn’t have that same motivation. They’d certainly choose one of the many easier routes to a paycheck.

But I really liked the early promise. I loved the idea that everyone could live in whatever part of the world they liked and get those same opportunities online. I looked at the obstacles I’d faced as a consultant and employer online, took a while to figure out some answers, and hooked up with some smart people to build an answer.

Tell us about your founding team and their backgrounds.

I’m a lifestyle entrepreneur living in tropical East Asia and doing business all around the world. I’ve been freelancing and hiring freelancers since 2008, and founded my Web consultancy Creadyne Developments, LLC in 2010.
Before joining Aegora, Dr. Niccolo Capanni was a lecturer in artificial intelligence with strong expertise in Web programming and space propulsion.