Independent worker community lands $30 million in funding

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SAN FRANCISCO — Contra, a professional community that empowers anyone to work independently, today announced the launch of commission-free payments and $30M in Series B funding to help Contra on its journey to revolutionizing the way independents work.

Contra has combined every aspect of the independent journey into one platform and gives independents all the tools they need to build their professional identities and work the way they want. Contra’s new commission-free payment model, which launches today, lets users accept payments for their services on Contra, completely commission-free, giving power back to the independent worker. Contra’s Series B was led by NEA with participation from Unusual Ventures and Cowboy Ventures, both of which invested in Contra’s Series A. The funds will be used for internal hiring and further product innovation as Contra scales to meet the needs of the millions of independent workers that value the freedom, autonomy and financial benefits of the freelance lifestyle.

“Workers of all ages and at all stages of their careers are moving at record numbers to an independent lifestyle, and Contra is the platform that is best equipped to support them on that exciting and liberating journey,” said Ben Huffman, CEO and founder of Contra. “Independent workers deserve to be paid in full for their hard work, and with our new payments model, one hundred percent of what an independent earns goes in their pocket. With this new funding from our unbelievable team of investors, we will continue to pave the way for independent workers to thrive in their careers. This is just the beginning for Contra and how we will change the lives of workers all over the world.”

With Contra’s new payments model, Contra handles all the traditional pain points freelancers face and introduces a seamless way for independents to go from receiving an inquiry and discussing project scope to signing a contract and getting paid. Contra’s new payment model lets users accept payments for their services on Contra, completely commission-free. Other platforms take upwards of a 20% cut of an independent’s pay, and with Contra’s payment model, independents can make 20% more and never have to worry about cuts being taken from their paychecks. Clients are also required to pay independents upfront, which ensures that the client gets access to world class talent and deliverables, while never putting the independent at risk of not getting paid. 

“The global workforce is at a pivotal moment with growing numbers of skilled professionals rejecting the rigid 9-5 office for new modes of flexible and independent work,” said Ann Bordetsky, Partner at NEA. “Contra is a new career building platform designed for independents by independents, designed to empower digital talent to earn, create individual brands and build community together. We’re excited by the vision Ben and the team at Contra have for the future of independent work and we’re thrilled to support them on their journey.”

Contra’s professional network has seen massive growth in 2021 due to the rapid rise of independent workers leaving their 9-5 jobs for the freedom, autonomy and financial benefits of the freelance lifestyle. “We are excited to be unlocking new opportunities for independents,” commented Gajus Kuizinas, CTO and co-founder of Contra. “Over 45% of today’s workforce is comprised of millennials and Gen Z. This number is only going to grow, and companies need a better way of scouting talents, as well as for prospects to showcase their skills effectively.” 

Specifically, Contra has seen exponential growth on its platform from Gen Z, with 40% of users being from that group. In large part, this is due to Contra’s viral videos that are released daily on TikTok. Contra was a pioneer in the TikTok #JobTok trend, helping hundreds of thousands of TikTok users find jobs and get career advice from Contra’s team of career experts. Over the summer, TikTok chose Contra to be one of the first companies to join its TikTok Careers initiative, including the TikTok Resumes Program, which allows companies to accept job application videos directly from TikTok videos. “This partnership gives a glimpse into what’s to come,” shared Kuizinas, “a new generation of independents getting paid (commission-free) to do what they love, integrated with applications they love using.”

Hundreds of thousands of users are coming to Contra to showcase their project based, collaborative professional identity and create new types of referral networks. Contra provides the tools and infrastructure needed to successfully work the way people want to work, with Contra handling pain points like contracts, project terms, payment tools, messaging and everything else in between.

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