Unilance connects students of the best universities with companies for freelance missions
Please introduce yourself and your startup Unilance to our readers!
Unilance is the international platform that connects students / graduates of the best universities (Harvard, H.E.C, Shanghai Polytechnic) with companies for freelance missions.
So, for all needs (design, prospection, market research, website development), we offer an alternative to the “average freelance” and thus permit companies to delegate their missions to the managers of tomorrow. Our business model is based on the principle of “gig economy” In other words, Unilance uberizes the freelancing, adding a touch of youth
How did you get the idea of Unilance?
Unilance, first and foremost, is the story of two students, who conducted an academic exchange in Canada, Alexandre and I. Since my partner is fluent in seven languages, and I am in four, it all started a day when we were shopping, speaking a foreign language. Suddenly, a manager rushed to us, and pointed out that they were looking for profiles mastering these languages, to help them with one of their suppliers abroad.
Having agreed to help them, we worked with some other local businesses for several months while we were still students. It was at this very moment that we realized that although we were still mere students, we had a lot to bring to the companies.
Two years later, at our respective internships, me in investment banking on Wall Street, and Alexandre in marketing at Philips, we decided to extend our model by offering companies other expertise than students study during their studies (marketing, finance, consulting, social networks …).
After all, millennials represent the generation that has best mastered new technology!
How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Really hard… You have to come up with so many ideas and the process takes a lot of time. It starts with the business model, strategy, positioning and then, all of a sudden you realize that you have to find a name, logo, font, etc.. many small details that can be decisive in your success. The first months are complicated since you are trying to raise your brand awareness and acquire your first clients. People do not know about you, you have to quickly build your online presence and that is quite a challenge.
Who is your target audience?
Students or young graduates for the freelancing and managers or entrepreneurs when it comes to clients. It is great because there is a strong link between these two. Managers were once students so they can relate to the students’ challenge and struggle with loans.
What is the USP of your startup?
“Getting it done by the international managers of tomorrow.” We differentiate ourselves thanks to the fact that we propose only international young freelance. Instead of just proposing all types of freelancers. Our idea is the combination of three words: Student + International + Freelance = Unilance.
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
We start by managing the current missions, we take a lot of time in paying attentions to how the mission is being conducted by the freelance. We check the mission status on a regular basis. We do not want the customer to suddenly realize that something is missing on the project. Then, we focus on prospection related tasks (mainly on social media, growth hacking techniques and cold calling) to finally end up managing our social media activites. We are creating a community of talented students with high ambitions.. and they need contents.
Where do you see yourself and your startup Unilance in five years?
We would love to be the international reference when it comes to international student freelance. Moreover, the goal is to keep developing abroad and for that, it would be great to have offices in other countries. We also need new skills in the team so probably more people in the Unilance family.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Only 3 ?! haha
I would say to remain loyal to your value proposition. It defines your company’s purpose, you need to always think about it when you deal with clients. People not only buy products but also the story and the why we are a doing this.
Secondly, to seek your friends opinion as much as you can, do not be afraid to ask. They are here to help you and you need diverse opinions to build yours.
Finally, try to maintain a healthy way of life, try to devote some time for yourself a little bit. It is important to maintain a fresh head, otherwise, this journey will destroy you and as I like to remember, Elon Musk said: “Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss. If you feel like, you are up to that, then start a company”.
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Thank you Rémi TIMERY for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.