- French start-up Jump has reshaped the landscape for freelancers and gig-workers with its platform to provide benefits and stability previously only available to employees
- The seed round was led by Index Ventures and joined by prominent angel investors
- As the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to self-employment, social and economic institutions have been too slow to catch up
- Jump allows freelancers to smooth lumpy turnover, manage invoices, access pensions and other benefits, and more
Paris, France 30th November 2021 – Jump has raised €4 million in seed funding to advance its mission of helping freelancers and gig-workers to thrive by giving them the same security and benefits as regular employees. Jump’s fully-automated operating system fundamentally disrupts freelancing by offering access to permanent contracts, as well as invoicing, payroll, benefits, compliance and accounting tools. In this way, the company is forging a fresh social contract between workers and societies that’s fit for the 21st century economy.
The seed round was led by Index Ventures, a preeminent global venture capital firm. They were joined by 16 angel investors including Nicolas Brusson, CEO and co-founder of BlaBlaCar; Hanno Renner, CEO and co-founder of Personio; Laurent Ritter, co-founder of Voodoo and Thibaud Elziere, co-founder of eFounders; Kima Ventures.
Around the world, a growing share of white and blue-collar workers are embracing or being nudged towards self-employment – a trend that was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies often prefer the flexibility of a freelance workforce. At the same time, millennials and Gen Z increasingly look for a lifestyle where work is an outgrowth of their passions and interests, and offers them a greater sense of fulfilment and autonomy than a 9-to-5 job.
In the US, between 35-40% of the workforce is made up of freelancers, while 32.6 million people or 14% of the workforce is freelance in Europe. In France, the number of self-employed people has grown nearly 40% in the past ten years, bringing it to 3.6 million by the end of 2019.
But without formal employment status, freelancing is also risky – creating what’s been criticised as ‘the gig economy’ and ‘the precariat’, with people on short-term contracts and lacking leave, pensions and administrative support. The vulnerability of freelance workers was vividly exposed during the pandemic, when many sole traders were forced to shut up shop, often with minimal government assistance compared with traditional employees.
Jump tackles this problem with a self-serve digital platform that hires workers on permanent contracts in a matter of minutes. It hires workers on permanent contracts, allowing them to manage their own workflow but gain access to benefits including regular payslips, social security and unemployment protection. Unlike traditional ‘umbrella’ companies, the Jump process is quick and automated – and doesn’t take a hefty commission on turnover, but instead makes money from a subscription fee and access to value-added products and preferential deals with private providers. To better serve the needs of its core customer base of self-employed people, Jump connects an ecosystem of top-quality service providers across insurance, health, training and labour marketplace platforms. Its current partners include Malt, Talent.io, LeGratin, Alan, Axa, Secret and Simbel, allowing it to bring preferential deals to Jump’s users and also improve those companies’ recruitment processes.
‘The social contract between citizens, states and employers presumes employment as the norm, but that’s increasingly out of step with reality,’ says CEO Nicolas Fayon. ‘On the one hand you have a classic labour market that’s less and less compatible with what people want. But when people take the jump into self-employment, they see it’s broken, with no benefits and no security. This mismatch feeds uncertainty, inequality and political polarisation. By giving the self-employed the same dignity and security of ‘regular’ workers, we are supporting greater creativity, autonomy and fulfilling forms of work to flourish across the world. We’re doing this for the millions who have already taken the plunge to work for themselves, as well as those who are thinking about it.’
Jump’s team has a deep understanding of the pain-points faced by self-employed workers, having met while working in leadership roles at umbrella companies in France. The founding team includes Nicolas Fayon (CEO), a serial entrepreneur whose business was acquired by the largest umbrella company in France, where he eventually held the role of CMO and met Thibault Coulon (COO), who lead the digitization strategy there; and Max Bouchet, CRO, previously led the French Sales motion of fast-growing Freelancer marketplace Hired.
Martin Mignot, partner at Index Ventures, says: ‘A growing number of people want to be their own bosses, but the tools to support flexible work simply aren’t there. For many freelancers and gig workers, there’s too much of a trade-off between freedom and security. That’s where Jump comes in: they’re building the infrastructure for the new world of work. We believe the team has both the technical excellence and entrepreneurial drive to help fix the underlying problem and so to unlock the creative and entrepreneurial potential for the next generation.’
Founded in 2021, Jump currently employs hundreds of freelancers that have invoiced more than €3 million to date in just a few months, whilst thousands of freelancers are searching for projects to join the company. With the new funds the company will consolidate its presence in France before expanding to the UK and Spain.
Published — Nov. 30, 2021