Milwaukee-based startup Talimer has launched a digital marketplace to connect freelance tech professionals with jobs at a time when the city is placing a greater emphasis on its tech workforce.
Erica Conway, who also owns a local staffing company called C2, co-founded Talimer with Ken Ostermann, who worked for Harley-Davidson before launching the startup in August.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has generated a greater demand for remote and freelance work, Talimer was also motivated by the MKE Tech Hub’s progress in building the local tech workforce, Conway said.
“It’s time for businesses to be able to consider freelance as a competitive weapon and more easily connect with difficult-to-access, highly skilled and in-demand professionals,” Conway said. “Just as important, Talimer’s platform reduces hiring bias and intentionally increases inclusivity, diversity and access to underrepresented freelancers.”
What differentiates Talimer’s approach to hiring from traditional staffing agencies is that it places a greater focus on freelancers, rather than the employer seeking talent, Conway said. Many freelancers may not be taken seriously as entrepreneurs, and in some cases do not have control over their rates, she said.
Freelancers are also often subject to a corporate pay structure, which means getting paid up to 30, 60 or even 90 days after they complete a project for a company. With Talimer, freelancers will have access to a more consistent cashflow by being paid on a weekly basis, Conway said.
Talimer also seeks to address other uncertainties freelancers face, including a lack of health care, retirement plans and the ability to access consistent and reliable work. With Talimer’s “freelancer first” mentality, the company will provide its clients with access to health care and the ability to set their own pay rates, Conway said.
“To combat these concerns, we applied our decades of experience in career matching and technical platform development to create a unique process to best match freelancers with businesses,” she said.
Talimer is currently in the pilot phase of its programming but has plans to implement proprietary strategies developed through Conway’s staffing firm C2, she said. The startup’s services will be free for freelancers and Talimer plans to generate revenue by charging a fee to the company seeking to fill a position.
Founders: Erica Conway and Ken Ostermann
Product: A digital marketplace that connects freelance tech professionals with employers.
Total employees: Eight
Goal: Scale Talimer for a national audience.
Experience: Conway owns staffing agency C2. Ostermann worked in marketing and product development at Harley-Davidson.