BENGALURU: When it comes to freelancing, one of the most aggravating problems freelancers deal with are timely payments from clients, with an already long wait stretching even longer is the service was offered to an international client. It was this very problem that prompted Naman Sarawagi to come up with the idea for Refrens: a start-up that offers an online platform for invoice management and payment collection, aimed primarily at freelancers. The tool, Sarawagi says, is free for those looking for work.
“This was a problem that we experienced working as freelance consultants for multiple start-ups on internet products, which is where I came up with the idea,” Sarawagi said.Currently, Refrens is structured as a B2B platform for freelancers and clients who are on the lookout for professionals in fields like software development, hardware experts, logo and graphics designers, digital marketers, public relations, branding and advertising, accounting, etc. Refrens takes a small transaction fee for payments made on its system.
“Once a member generates an invoice for 3-4 times, they are able to see their wider network. Each member in this network can offer a referral commission that other members can see and give leads for. So, the platform works on referrals and recommendations for other services,” adds Sarawagi, who co-founded the start-up along with Mohit Jain.
Since its launch in July 2019, the start-up has been able to leverage the platform to onboard over 500 businesses, which use it 1-2 times every week. “The model is simple. We give a common platform for the freelancers and those who want to avail their services. What we do is to make the payments system fast, transparent and efficient,” he added.
Currently bootstrapped, Refrens is targeting a substantial chunk of the $7.1 billion cloud market and aims to create a network of 1 million freelancers by the end of 2020. “India is expected to have 20 million white-collar freelancers by 2022, so we are upbeat about the future. Also, we will be offering a whole suite of business management tools free to B2B service providers,” he said.
Apart from its plans to widen its market in India, the startup is also planning to expand to at least five more countries by 2020