Now there is a disruptive new player in the market, SF-based Rev, which initially is focused on two work verticals – audio transcription and document translation services.
Rev has just launched under its new name, but it is already a fairly robust business after a couple years of beta, plus some under-the-radar experience with thousands of customers.
“There are two sides to our service,” says CEO Jason Chicola. “There’s the customer side and the worker side. We offer economic value to both. To the customer, we want to deliver the product at half the price and twice the speed of our competitors. For the worker we want to make them more money and keep them busy.”
Rev offers transcriptions at $1/minute of recorded conversation and translations at 12 cents/word. It guarantees completing any project within 48 hours, but Chicola says average completion times are much faster–12 hours for transcriptions and 15 hour for translations.
On the other side of the service is where Rev gets very interesting.
It carefully vets the freelances it hires, retaining only about ten percent of those who apply.
The average, part-time translator earns about $1,000/month with the busiest translators bringing in $4,000/month.
The comparable figures for those doing part-time transcription work are $250 and $1200.
The way Rev goes about achieving these types of results says a lot about how online platforms can be game-changers.
“The only way we can do it is by radically increasing efficiency,” says Chicola. “Our whole process is online. And we’ve built tools to make the workers more productive. Our software is faster and easier to use, and it’s always getting better.”
Like any startup following best practices, Rev has been listening to the freelancers it hires to make their lives easier and their work more productive. The service built a “virtual water cooler” where the freelancers gather to discuss projects, problems, their personal lives, and so on.
“When you work from home on these projects, which is what our people do, it can be lonely,” notes Chicola. “So it’s about more than money, including recognition, friendships, career path issues – we build all that into the platform. And we find that people are friendly with others who have similar skills to their own. In the forum we created for them, they talk a lot.“
They also generate ideas for ways Rev can make their working conditions better and more efficient.
Chicola says Rev is listening, and in this context quotes one of his financial backers:
“The winner will be the company that learns the fastest.”
Couldn’t have put that any better myself.