First published in Adnews

The former managing director of MullenLowe Profero, Dave Bentley, has partnered with ex-Razorfish’s senior tech manager, Nick Stevens, to launch a start-up aimed at revolutionising the future of freelancing for the advertising industry.

Cavalry Freelancing is an online marketplace that matches projects with industry freelancers based on expertise, skills, availability, rates and reputation.

It also provides a management system, that helps companies source, book and invoice freelancers, as well as facilitate communication between freelancers in a bid to create a sense of community through its site.

Bentley, who left MullenLowe Profero in 2016, tells AdNews the idea was born out of decades working in the creative industry, including seven years at MullenLowe Profero, where he saw the demand for freelancers increase as agencies expanded their remit to match client demands.

While the demand was rising, agencies become more time poor and the systems in place were “complex, convoluted and stressful” to use, he says.

“The way we had to find freelancers was so complicated it struck me as a something that could be solved by a platform,” he says, adding that previously agencies had to rely on recruiters or referrals.

Calvary Freelancing already has 500 freelancers on board and 50 agencies, including R/GA, Lavender, One Green Bean, Leo Burnett, 303 Mullen Lowe, ikon, Edelman Digital and Weber Shandwick.

Cavalry has also formed a partnership with educational facility General Assembly and is open to other partnerships in the market.

“The pressure on agencies continues to intensify due to tighter budgets, talent shortages, requirements for greater diversity of skills, and a growing trend for flexible working environments. However, the current model for finding freelancers is broken. It’s fragmented, time consuming, costly and unreliable.

“The proliferations of channels and sophistication demanded requires a far greater number of experts than 10 years ago. The evolution and the changes are challenging for agencies, but they are beginning to realise they can’t do all things and outsource more skills.”

Bentley plans to run events and rely on social media to raise awareness of Calvary’s services.

He expects the business to have more than 1500 members by the end of year and has big plans, outlining his goal to launch in Asia next year.

So far, the business is self-funded but Bentley says it is in the process of going through its first round of investment.

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