Paro raises $5M to double headcount and create a better gig economy for finance pros

by Michael Hines
March 5, 2018
Paro Chicago startup team photo
PHOTO VIA Paro

Paro just hit a major milestone in its quest to create a freelancer-focused platform for finance professionals.

The company, which matches finance-savvy freelancers with businesses in need, has just raised a $5 million Series A. The round was led by Revolution Ventures, a Washington D.C.-based venture capital firm co-founded by AOL's Steve Case. The round also saw participation from Global Founders Capital and Tom Williams.

It takes a lot of time and effort to hunt for and win projects. We take that pain out of the process.”

“If you think about it from the freelancer side, they don’t really know how much they’re going to make in three days, three weeks or three months, and that’s pretty scary,” CEO Michael Burdick told Built In Chicago. “It takes a lot of time and effort to hunt for and win projects. We take that pain out of the process by bringing work directly to freelancers.”

Since launching in 2015, Paro has helped nearly a thousand companies from early-stage startups to enterprise businesses connect with freelance accountants, bookkeepers, financial analysts and even CFOs — all of whom work on an hourly and on-demand basis. The company’s network of freelancers is highly curated, with only 2 percent of applicants making the cut.

“As professionals increasingly seek flexibility in their work life, Paro’s platform continues to attract best-in-class talent to support their growing client base, ranging from startups to large financial institutions, highlighting the desirability of flexible, cost-effective, and reliable support for businesses at every stage of growth,” said Revolution Ventures’ partner Clara Sieg in a statement.

Projects are assigned via a matching algorithm, which helps ensure the right person is assigned to each project and that freelancers have a steady flow of work. In the short term, the Paro team hopes to improve the capabilities of the algorithm to allow for more specific and accurate matches. Down the line, the company aims to introduce predictive analytics to the platform to give freelancers a clearer idea of what earnings might look like.

“If a freelancer’s goal is to make $3,000 a week, our predictive analytics will be able to help them see what they need to do to hit that,” Burdick said. “We’re really trying to prove to freelancers, and even full-time employees, that they can make more through the freelance gig economy.”

We’re really trying to prove to freelancers, and even full-time employees, that they can make more through the freelance gig economy.”

In addition to accelerating product development, Paro said it will also use its Series A for hiring. The company’s headcount sits at around 20 people, and Burdick said he expects that figure to “more than double” this year, adding positions across the board but with a focus on its sales and tech teams.

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