Australia’s crowdsourcing hub is not a flash in the pan, it’s growing at an incredible rate. Here are some crowdsourcing stars to watch.
Alec Lynch is the founder and CEO of DesignCrowd.com.au, an online marketplace providing logo, website, print and graphic design services by providing access to freelance graphic designers and design studios around the world.
In the last few years, Australia has established itself as a global crowdsourcing hub. This hub was first identified by Australian futurist Ross Dawson in 2010. Since then, Australia’s crowdsourcing credentials have continued to grow.
The foundation of Australia’s global crowdsourcing hub was laid by a cluster of Aussie crowdsourcing services taking on the world. A few years ago, ten of these crowdsourcing services were identified as the ‘stars’ of Australian crowdsourcing. The list included Envato, Flippa and DesignCrowd – a business I operate – but also missed one or two (such as Redbubble).
While these companies helped establish Australia as a global crowdsourcing hub, a number of new Australian crowdsourcing services have launched in the last three years and are beginning to gain traction. In this article, I’m going to introduce five up-and-coming Australian crowdsourcing services, and tell you a bit about their innovations.
#1 – Flightfox
Founded in 2012 by Todd Sullivan and Lauren McLeod, Flightfox is changing the travel industry. Using a crowdsourcing model, Flightfox saves customers time and money by getting travel experts to offer you the best deal on your itinerary. If you want to fly business class from Mumbai to Buenos Aires, then back via Bangkok next month, and have a limited budget, all you do is post your itinerary as a “travel contest” on the site and travel experts will submit competitive itineraries to get your business.
#2 – Airtasker
Airtasker lets you outsource your life. It’s a local marketplace that connects people who need one-off tasks done, like picking up laundry, painting a room, constructing IKEA furniture or buying weekly groceries, with folks who can do it for you.
This marketplace just hit $1 million in payments and has just launched a service for businesses who want to hire up to 1,000 people to work on a project.
#3 – Pozible
Pozible is a crowdfunding service (for those that don’t know, crowdfunding is essentially a form of crowdsourcing, whereby a project owner sets a financial goal and posts a request to a community of crowdfunders to pledge money for the project). Crowdfunding democratize the capital-raising process by allowing complete strangers to fund projects with small donations.
Pozible focuses on crowdfunding creative projects. The marketplace attracts everything from filmmakers, artists and other creative types, to those seeking funding to launch their ideas. Pozible has hosted nearly 4,000 projects since it launched three years ago.
#4 – Kaggle
Not new, but noticeably absent from the original stars of crowdsourcing line-up was Kaggle, the world’s largest community of data scientists. Kaggle’s co-founder and CEO Anthony Goldbloom, also a champion kite surfer, raised $11M series A round from Khosla Ventures back in 2011.
In the age of big data, Kaggle’s founders have tapped a big need of companies and governments to leverage the enormous amounts of disparate data they generate and collect everyday. A boon for data nerds inside and outside of universities, teams of statisticians, quants, programmers and other data experts compete to provide a solution by a set deadline and achieve fortune (there’s prize money) and glory (climb Kaggle’s user rankings).
Whilst Kaggle is helping us connect the dots faster, they do it with a sense of humour too. The name of their blog is ‘No Free Hunch’.
#5 – ImageBrief
ImageBrief, offers crowdsourcing of photographs on a request basis. ImageBrief has raised a total of $2.2M from notable investors like Square Peg’s Paul Bassat and Justin Liberman and recently moved its headquarters to New York.
Photographers upload and tag existing images, creating a massive human-curated image library with vastly improved search functionality than a typical stock photography platform. Using a real-language search and request system (‘caucasian woman hiking in mountains’) they are able to increase the accuracy of customer searches.
If customers can’t find a suitable existing image, they can commission those same freelance photographers to compete for the project budget via a contest. Publishers and media companies can also monetize unused digital assets or existing inventory through ImageBrief.
As crowdsourcing gains traction, more Australian-built platforms are emerging. Noteworthy mentions include crowdsourced custom video marketplace Brand Honee; Tweaky for WordPress customisation; and Start Some Good, for crowdfunding community-led social change projects.
In addition to the new stars of Australian crowdsourcing above, Australian small businesses have embraced the model and a number of Australia’s big brands are now turning to crowdsourcing. Even former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd crowdsourced a t-shirt for his election comeback.
Australia’s crowdsourcing hub is not a flash in the pan, it’s growing at an incredible rate. Perhaps by 2020, we will all be crowdsourcing our life on Airtasker, politicians will be crowdsourcing more than just t-shirts and Australia will become the clear global leader.
Image Credits: Shutterstock