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Today's Founder

Will Sykora

Will Sykora, Covailnt

Graduating in 2009 with a BFA, Will realized he would have to make waves if he wanted to cut it in the real world. Starting in print design, Will did a brief stint in project management before returning to his creative roots as an UI designer and UX Architect. Building on his UX and product design experience, Will found his calling as Covailnt's founder.

In March, Will gave up his corporate 9-5 to focus on Covailnt full-time. He's currently based outside of Baltimore MD – but is plotting a move to Austin TX, with his wife and dogs.

Will's Founder Story

Will's skills

  • Empathy lead product development
  • Design Thinking & Lean UX
  • Strategic problem solving and implementation
  • Design Ops & General Business & Marketing Ops
  • Visual Design and Branding
  • Basic technical chops & versed in Agile (CSPO and CSM certified)
  • Grit & Optimism

Will's team

Will Sykora — Single founder responsible for 90% of the work completed so far. Supported by several freelancers (as a great proof of concept)


Tip of the hat to:

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The product

Covailnt is a peer-to-peer community focused web application that makes it painless for freelancers to connect and collaborate with other trusted freelancers.

Covailnt measures how well people work together and uses that data to forecast how well someone will collaborate in the future. This sliding metric is similar to a credit score, and helps freelancers quickly identify trustworthy collaborators and minimizes risk when finding and working with new connections.

When a freelancer finds themself with a project that is too complex, a workload that is too heavy, or they simply want to delegate out certain tasks, they can head over to Covailnt. Using the platform, they can instantly see the real time availability of potential collaborators or browse fellow freelancers by skills, style and projected performance metrics.

Freelancers can pull in a partner, assemble a project team, or pass on referral work to someone with open bandwidth. At the same time, these freelancers are available as a resource and can source work from their own connections.

The Essentials

Traction

550+ Beta Waitlist signups and counting — currently being added to private beta with 150+ active accounts. Growth to date has been powered by word of mouth.

In its first two weeks, the Community Feed has seen 1-2 posts a day increase to 6-9 posts per day and counting. (A simple proof of monetization was achieved with boosted posts generated revenue the very first week they were implemented)


How does it make money?

Multi-stream freemium model

  • Stream 1: Selling tiers of freelance access in the form of membership dues.
    • Tier 1: Free, with closed network access (to just the user’s own connections).
    • Tier 2: Paid ($), with open network access.
    • Tier 3: Paid & Verified ($$), with open network access, identity verification, and additional/exclusive features, visibility and access.
  • Stream 2: Subscription plans for recruiter and talent placement service access. (This is where the real potential for revenue exists)
  • With the talent pool established, Covailnt can go on to offer recruiter services, and eventually expand into fluid talent management for enterprises.
What's your distribution strategy?

Word-of-Mouth/freelancer to freelancer recommendations and invitations (by way of existing freelance communities and influencers).

Referral incentives through the platform metrics (rewarding freelancers who proactively grow their network through the platform).

Providing Freelance resources & advice (tutorials, podcasts, seminars, workshops and classes focused on how to become a successful freelancer)

Showcasing freelance talent (public endorsements for early adopters and champions)


Feature roadmap

Current state: Basic Directory — Freelancers can join, Set up a profile and have basic capabilities to interact with each other (connect as friends/messaging/view profiles). Community Feed — Freelancers can broadcast their own availability or who they are seeking for help across the platform.

Roadmap:

  • Migrate/optimize existing platform (Dapp on Ethereum?).
  • Build Freelancer to Freelancer collaboration sessions (Rank Earned / Experience Points capabilities, can be seen in the desktop prototype onboarding experience).
  • Implement projection metrics (Rank Potential – collaboration & quality forecasting).
  • Paywall- Monetize the platform (Monthly/Yearly Membership Dues based on account level).
  • Freelancer collaboration history (similar to IMBD's filmography).
  • Recruiter & Non-freelancer access and accounts.
  • Enterprise Freelance talent management solutions (TBD)

The Assets

Screenshots, decks, and docs: click to get the goods.

The right candidate

What Will is looking for in a co-founder

React skills — Understands why and how we would merge component based development practices with component based design practices.

Web app & Microservices Architecture experience – open to exploring a decentralized full stack app on Ethereum.

Experience as a freelancer — Passionate about eliminating the pain associated with existing freelance marketplaces and changing the way the world thinks about freelancing.

Basic UX skills — Understands and values customer centricity and committed to building the best experience possible.

Leadership skills — Able to develop and lead the development side of Covailnt's business, and willing to over-communicate as we go.

Strategic thinking — Able to plan and design systems and processes that scale.

The offer

Cash

$40/hour

Equity

20%

Commitment

30-40+ hrs/week

Location

Baltimore, Austin, remote

Get in contact with Will