17/07/2017

Twine: Curating The Best Quality Freelancers

Twine is a platform that allows companies to connect with freelancers, with a real passion for making the relationship between the two as fruitful and as simple as possible. We asked CEO and co-founder Stuart Logan a few questions to find out more about the platform, how it came about and why it's such a useful tool for companies and freelancers alike.

Stuart Logan, CEO and Co-Founder of Twine

As an easy start, can you introduce yourself and your company...

I’m Stuart Logan, the CEO and Co-founder of Twine, a platform that connects companies to a network of creative freelancers. Companies can hire quality talent to help grow their business.

I fused my early love of music and tech by creating YouTorrent, a torrent meta search engine aggregating music and film sources which peaked with over 100,000 daily visitors. This experience, along with my love of artistic collaboration, ultimately inspired the idea behind Twine, a platform for supporting and connecting all creative sectors worldwide.

I met my co-founder, a fellow computer scientist and music enthusiast, Damien Shiells, at University in 2004. Between 2011 and 2013, we built a successful advertising tech company. The experience in marketing and scaling this business, combined with its financial success, enabled us to found Twine.

Can you give us a bit of background into what Twine is?

Companies struggle to find the best quality creative freelancers for a project. Twine connects companies to creatives by curating the best quality freelancers and making it simple to write a project brief.

If you're a company, Twine's creative marketplace can help grow your business and fulfil your audio-visual content needs – for example, explainer videos that will boost conversions on landing pages, and deck design that will help you generate investment for your business. Our creatives also provide services like logo and web design, which can help you build a strong visual identity and cohesive branding.

If you're a creative freelancer, you can take control and choose which projects you want to work on. Build your portfolio with Twine and find interesting creatives to collaborate with from all over the world.

The way Twine works: a company can post a project brief, and we help you through the process. Then creative freelancers will pitch on the project. Twine then vets all pitches before the hiring company sees them, to ensure they hit our quality threshold. We give feedback to all freelancers whose pitches aren’t approved and sent to the buyer. This helps them improve and have a better chance next time. It also means the company isn’t overwhelmed by too many pitches of varying quality. This gives a better experience to both sides. The company and creative communicate through Twine, send files and make a secure payment which is held in escrow until the company is happy.

Why did Twine come about? Was it there to address any problems or to build on other networks?

Damien and I are both passionate creatives. We saw the inability of creatives to easily connect with fellow creatives as a key issue in the creative industries worldwide. We recognised that it can be  hard for them to find people to collaborate with and grow their career. In response to this, Clowdy was born in 2013, and we rebranded to Twine in 2015.

After building the network, and expanding worldwide to over 100,000 creatives, the consistent feedback we had was our creatives struggled to find work. We also found SMEs spend £24k per year on marketing and 32% is spent on content marketing. But they struggle to find good quality creative freelancers to create content. With these things in mind, we opened up the marketplace after rebranding in 2016.

Why are freelancers so important to the creative industries and the world of start-ups?

Agencies add a significant cost to a project because there’s  so many overheads, but they do not necessarily add to the quality of the result. In fact, agencies often fail to deliver high quality content.

Essentially, freelancers are more cost effective, and less risky for a start-up.

Do you see the nature of freelance work changing? If so how?

It’s been well documented that freelancing is growing rapidly. It grew by over 100% in the UK creative industries between 2009 and 2014. I see this as down to two main factors:

1.       People’s attitudes to work have shifted. People want more control over their life, and freelancing enables that. It’s even easier to see this shift in attitude in corporations, with bring your own device (BYOD) schemes, flexible hours and remote working as more obvious examples.

2.       Technology has made freelancing cheaper. The cost of equipment to get professional results has reduced exponentially over the last 20 years. Laptops, mobile phones, the internet and tablets have all played their part.

Simply, I see freelancing continuing to grow and companies becoming more familiar with working with freelancers.

How have your processes changed over time? Are there any major learnings?

With the Twine product, we’ve made several interesting discoveries:

1.       Companies have no idea how much creative content costs.

2.       Companies will often increase their budget after speaking with a freelancer and getting a greater understanding of what is possible.

3.       Companies often do not have a clear understanding of what they want or what is possible until they speak with a creative.

4.       Creatives are often poor at selling themselves on pitches.

5.       Creatives don’t always empathise with what the company or client is trying to achieve.

These key learnings have made major changes to the way Twine works. For instance, we added negotiable budgets to solve the issue where companies set budgets too low, and started vetting pitches when we realised that pitch quality was an ongoing problem.

Internally, a huge change for us was implementing Scrum. We use this for software development but also for the marketing and sales teams. Scrum empowers team members, creates transparency, improves happiness and significantly improves productivity. I’m a massive fan.

What’s next for Twine?

A big focus for us is getting more exciting and larger projects on the platform. We started with the start-up market, which has brought in a lot of projects like logos, explainer videos and simple web design. We are planning to significantly diversify in 2018.

We’ll be launching milestone payments later this year. Milestone payments make it more feasible for these higher value, longer-term projects to be completed through Twine.  They mean a creative will be paid in parts throughout the project life-cycle; a creative won’t be waiting for months before receiving any payment on a long project. Both the client and the creative will ensure projects are moving on track and in line with the original objective. Also it makes sure that problems get ironed out early on.

As well as this, we have some exciting super-secret plans that I can’t talk about :)

Thanks very much for your time Stuart! If you would like to see more of Twine then head to their websitehttps://www.twine.fm/

If you're a startup and have some interest in how Twine can help your business, head here for offers including a £50 off voucher

  • CE50
  • Tech & Digital