Aug 3, 2017

Freelancer’s rapid, precipitous fall from grace

Freelancer was never the biggest player in its space. But now it's got bigger problems.

Adam Schwab — Business director and commentator

Adam Schwab

Business director and commentator

While managing to escape without any mainstream press coverage, the collapse of Freelancer’s share price has been a rapid fall from grace for former BRW Rich Lister Matt Barrie. Shares in Freelancer, Barrie’s tightly held outsourcing marketplace, are in free fall, dropping more than 70% from a high of $1.80 in early 2016 to only 52 cents today. The former market darling’s value has slumped to $238 million, a far cry from $800 million around 18 months ago.

There wouldn’t be any shortage of schadenfreude among Australian tech insiders, many of whom openly questioned Barrie’s business model and his seemingly lofty view of his own abilities. Your correspondent repeatedly questioned Freelancer’s prospects shortly after its 2013 float and again a few months later.

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3 thoughts on “Freelancer’s rapid, precipitous fall from grace

  1. bjb

    Well said Adam. Always though Barrie was rather too full of himself with his grandiose pronouncements on how Freelancer was going to change the world. With the background you provided, turns out he’s just another chancer.

  2. Jason Kwon

    I recall that Matt’s criticism was aimed at Fulde’s use of data. And Matt was rightfully hailed for some at least attempted serious analysis of Sydney’s changing cultural scene. What on earth does him “run[ing] an internet business that has lost money for a decade” have to do with that?

  3. Will

    Barrie may be a delusional chancer, but that doesn’t mean the Sydney lockout laws he criticised aren’t an authoritarian outrage. You don’t have to be a conscience-challenged libertarian ‘entrepreneur’ to know that yet more regulation and policing is a curtailment of civil rights. The correct approach is not moral panic, but extolling and demanding civility, rather than ever more trenchantly imposing civil order, while addressing the social sources of incivility. It’s harder and more costly route than a police state, admittedly, but it does have the advantage of being more, you know . . . democratic.

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