GigRove is something of a cross between CouchSurfing and a skill-based barter networks like Simbi. Using the service, freelancers can find a business or startup requiring their skills–whether that is graphic design, programming, or even office repairs–and in exchange for those skills, get access to free accommodation (and sometimes food) from the business. That way, those with competencies that translate well to a freelance workstyle have the opportunity to travel the world and meet inspiring new people all on an entrepreneur’s favorite kind of budget: cheap as hell. Meanwhile, startups are given a novel way to access global talent and get work done for a startup’s favorite kind of budget: cheap as hell (with plenty of shared space).
The service is active in over 130 countries worldwide at the moment. In each of those countries, businesses post gigs based on some particular task they want to get accomplished. Right now, for instance, there’s a Colorado startup looking for someone to handle their social media accounts. There’s also a couple in Norway offering meals and lodgings in exchange for assistance in building a website for their clothing business (“No required working time, but it would be cool if you could finish it within one month”). Apart from the project itself, the listings mentions all accommodation details; that includes the type of home, number of meals provided, and amenities (Internet, air-conditioning, washing machine, etc.).
See a job for which you think you might be a good fit? GigRove lets freelancers apply for gigs by getting in touch directly with the business or individual who posted the opportunity. But there will likely be a few freelancers competing for the spot, which is why the platform has members create profiles. Each profile contains information such as academic background, skills, and work experience. For people who were previously hired through the site, their profiles might also contain reviews. Startups can take a look at freelancers’ profiles along with the messages they receive from them (which serve as a sort of cover letter) to choose the best candidate for the job.
For Startup Hosts, it costs nothing to upload listings to the GigRove website. For traveling freelancers, GigRove is basically free to use, but they have a freemium model to monetize operations at the moment. The free tier gives access to a limited number of listings and allows only a certain number of skills to be displayed on user profiles. For $19 a month or $190 a year, users are given access to all listing and can boast as many skills as they would like.
Given its worldwide reach, the ever-expanding population of ambitious entrepreneurs, and just how much people enjoy budget travel, GigRove is sure to help feed the roving freelancer community, one which seems to be steadily growing. The only thing they might bump into is Visa requirements for people “working” abroad, though nobody is actually exchanging money, and the site is really just a first-touch marketplace. Whatever–like a few pesky regulations ever got in the way of an entrepreneur with a severe case of wanderlust.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.