Matt Barrie, chief executive of Freelancer.com, in his office at Jones Bay Wharf. Photo: Louie Douvis
Online jobs portal Freelancer.com has made a strong debut, surging as much as 400 per cent as investors scrambled for a slice of the world’s biggest freelancing and outsourcing marketplace by number of users.
The debut price briefly gave the online focused business a market cap of $ 1.1 billion.
By early afternoon the share prices had slipped back to $ 1.48, valuing the company at $ 650 million.
The company is tightly held with just 6.9 per cent of its shares sold on the ASX. Freelancer raised $ 15 million to boost its overseas expansion plans.
“On the face, the price is telling us that this float is underpriced,” said CMC Markets strategist Michael McCarthy.
“But because they only sold a small amount of the 436 million shares, that’s not a problem for them. What they’ve essentially done is establish a market value of this company.”
Freelancer is essentially a marketplace that allows people to post a task – whether it’s a graphic design task, a legal job, some coding – and have freelancers from around the world bid on it.
It says it connects more than 9.4 million employers and freelancers in 247 countries, regions and territories.
Freelancer’s prospectus showed its revenue grew by 64 per cent in 2012, and is expected to grow by 73 per cent to $ 18.3 million in 2013.
The company has acquired several online job websites including GetAFreelancer and EUFreelance in the past four years.
Freelancer.com founder Matt Barrie will retain the lion’s share of the company’s stock, holding a 46 per cent stake in the firm. At current valuation this gives Mr Barrie’s paper wealth of $ 300 million.
“The company plans to continue reinvesting strategically to achieve growth, which may result in a period of minimal operating profits,” Mr Barrie said in the prospectus.
Freelancer has knocked back several attempts to buy it, including a $ 400 million approach from Japanese recruitment firm Recruit Holdings Co.
It faces competition from online recruitment company Monster Worldwide, online job marketplace Seek and professional social media LinkedIn.