QED Investors among Collective's $8.7M funders
Collective, an online back office platform designed for businesses-of-one, launched today and announced $8.65 million in funding to empower, support and connect the self-employed community comprising 36 per cent of the American workforce. Collective’s technology and team of trusted advisors give members the freedom to focus on what matters by taking care of everything from business incorporation to accounting, bookkeeping and tax services in one platform.
General Catalyst and QED Investors led the funding round with additional investment from Google’s Gradient Ventures and Expa. Individual investors include entrepreneurs and executives behind some of the most transformational technology companies like Garrett Camp, founder of Expa and Uber; Vitor Lourenco, Expa partner and first Twitter designer; Darian Shirazi, general partner at Google’s Gradient Ventures; Scott Belsky, Adobe’s chief product officer and founder of Behance; Dylan Field, founder of Figma; Gokul Rajaram, executive at DoorDash / Caviar; Jared Hecht, founder and CEO of Fundera; Dan Lewis, founder and CEO of Convoy; and Topher Conway, co-founder of SV Angel. Collective will use the funding to bring the product to market, develop new technologies and products, build out additional community features and more.
Collective began building its platform and team of trusted financial advisors in 2019 and has already attracted a waitlist of thousands of businesses-of-one spanning industries including marketing, sales, design and engineering. Collective’s founders — CEO Hooman Radfar, CPO Ugur Kaner and CTO Bugra Akcay — bring firsthand experience as serial entrepreneurs, creating Collective to solve the pain points that businesses-of-one experience when they launch and grow. After struggling with red tape as a self-employed immigrant to the U.S. and yearning to help and connect with others in the same situation, Kaner and Akcay joined forces with fellow immigrant Radfar. Previously, Radfar founded AddThis and helped lead the company to its acquisition by Oracle. He is also a venture partner at startup studio Expa, which was co-founded by Uber co-founder Garrett Camp and has invested in and launched more than 50 startups. Radfar is an early investor in Uber, Convoy, Onfido Sweetgreen and more.
“Despite the fact that they represent a third of the workforce, businesses-of-one are deeply underserved and desperately need the right community and tools to run their companies,” said Radfar. “Today, freelancers, consultants and other solopreneurs are banding together in bespoke collectives to pool resources, knowledge, and tools they need to succeed. It’s scary being on your own–we know the feeling. Our vision is to become the first and last collective that businesses-of-one need to join — a trusted partner empowering them with a solution that is tailored to their unique needs, saving them time and money, while connecting them to a community of other members. With Collective, we want running your own business to be as easy as taking a full-time job.”
Collective’s support and offerings are launching at a moment when Americans are seeing a massive shift in the evolution of work. The Passion Economy has energetically emerged as more and more people choose to create their own scalable and rewarding businesses-of-one, instead of pursuing full-time employment at other companies. As everyone simultaneously redefines how the workforce operates in the midst of a global pandemic and widespread economic uncertainty, many companies are shifting to flexible, remote work and increasingly hiring consultants to take on the roles and responsibilities previously allocated to employees. Collective supports all of the back-office tasks that come with being self-employed, so businesses-of-one can field more opportunities and focus on their unique skill sets.
“Businesses-of-one have seen explosive growth, especially in recent months as the pandemic accelerates the shift toward remote work and flexible careers,” said Niko Bonatsos, managing director at General Catalyst. “Unfortunately, that growth doesn’t mean it has gotten any easier to incorporate and operate as an individual. This is where Collective can really excel. We’re excited to support Hooman and the team as they build the back office platform for the next work age.”
“Collective is launching a concierge back-office platform for self-employed entrepreneurs at a pivotal time in our country’s history, given how quickly the nature of work is evolving,” said Frank Rotman, founding partner at QED Investors. “I’m thrilled to partner with the team on their mission to transform how businesses-of-one operate, scale, connect and thrive.”
By offering the technology and tools needed to succeed and focus on their passions, Collective members save significant time and an average of $16.8K in 2019 (for those earning $80,000 in revenue). Key offerings include:
- Online management dashboard and third-party software: All-in-one, user-friendly dashboard that seamlessly combines banking information and access to third-party software like Gusto and QuickBooks;
- S corp. formation: Business incorporation services, including establishing an S Corp and more;
- Accounting: Quarterly review of accounts and books with feedback on how to adjust salary and optimize deductions and expenses;
- Bookkeeping and administration: Ongoing guidance, along with transaction categorization, invoice preparation assistance, and monthly management reports;
- Personalized tax advice: Preparation and filing of business and individual income tax returns and quarterly tax estimates;
- Trusted advisors: Real-time messaging platforms where members can easily reach their designated bookkeeper, tax advisor, and client relationship manager with questions; and
- Community access: Community support and opportunities to build meaningful connections with potential collaborators and friends, along with informative and educational content about entrepreneurship, taxes, and more in the form of online guides, blog posts, and weekly newsletters