How much revenue does Upwork make?
Upwork was founded in 2015 as a freelance platform when two existing freelance platforms, oDesk (founded in 2003) and Elance (founded in 1998), merged.
Today, Upwork is the largest freelance marketplace platform in the world with a revenue of $374 million. The platform has 145,400 core clients and a Gross Services Volume (total marketplace transactions) of over $2.5 billion.
Want to learn more? Read on to get the best Upwork revenue statistics in 2021 and find out more about Upwork users.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Upwork Statistics (Top Picks)
- The overall revenue from job postings on the platform amounted to 2.5 billion in 2020.
- Upwork’s revenue was 373.63 million in 2020.
- The revenue is, by Q2 in 2021, 362 million and it’s expected to grow to $490-$494 million in 2021.
- 145,400 employers, who spend at least $5,000/year, use the platform.
- The biggest freelancing countries are the US, India, and the Philippines.
- In 2020, 85% of the revenue of Upwork’s overall job postings derived from larger engagements and complex projects.
- 30% of Fortune 100 companies use Upwork.
- Upwork has grown, year over year, by 22.4%.
Upwork is the biggest work marketplace in the world.
Its revenue model is simple:
Clients (SMEs and enterprises) post freelance projects on the platform. Freelancers respond to these projects. When clients hire them, they pay a small processing fee (3%). Freelancers pay 20% on lifetime billings between $0-$500, 10% on lifetime billings between $500.01-$10,000, and 5% on $10,000.01 or more.
Upwork’s revenue in 2020 was $373.63 million.
But what will Upwork’s revenue be in 2021?
According to the two quarterly reports, Upwork has, so far, made:
|Q1 (2021)||Q1 (2020)|
|$124.2 million||$87.5 million|
|Q2 (2021)||Q2 (2020)|
|$237.8 million||$170.7 million|
In 2021, Upwork expects to report a revenue of $490-$494 million.
Upwork Revenue Growth
Year over year, Upwork has grown by 22.48% over the past 4 years.
In 2021, Upwork is expected to grow by 31.1%-24.4%.
And what does the quarterly growth rate look like?
In 2020, Upwork’s revenue grew, on average, by 24% every quarter.
In 2021, Upwork has so far grown by 91.5% quarter over quarter.
Upwork Gross Services Revenue
The Gross Services Volume (the overall revenue from transactions on the platform) was $2.5 billion in 2020.
Here’s what GSV growth has looked like year over year:
Upwork Marketplace Revenue
Upwork’s marketplace revenue represents the majority of the company’s total revenue. It comprises freelancer service commissions and client payment processing and administration fees.
In 2020, the marketplace revenue was 338.152 million.
Year over year, here’s how marketplace revenue has grown:
Upwork’s marketplace take rate (the amount of money that Upwork retains from overall marketplace transactions) is calculated by dividing marketplace revenue by total Gross Services Volume.
In 2020, it was 13.6%.
Here’s how Upwork’s take rate has evolved since 2016:
Upwork Freelance User Statistics
Who uses Upwork?
Upwork doesn’t disclose the number of freelancers on its platform.
The latest figure is 16 million from 2018 (unconfirmed by Upwork).
In 2020, these freelancers made 2.3 billion on the platform.
The countries that generated the most money on the freelancer side in 2020:
|Rest of the world||109.81%|
From 2016-2020, the revenue per country has grown as follows:
|Rest of the world||58.52%|
|Rest of the world||68.83%|
|Rest of the world||80.39%|
|Rest of the world||90.26%|
|Rest of the world||109.81%|
As you can see, the US, India and the Philippines are Upwork’s core freelancing markets.
Upwork Employer User Statistics
145,400 core clients use Upwork. Core clients have spent at least $5,000 on Upwork and have had spend-activity on the marketplace in the last 12 months.
How many jobs are posted on Upwork by these clients? Upwork doesn’t reveal any numbers, but it’s safe to assume there are plenty of job postings, considering that 2.5 billion flow through the platform.
Core client growth over the year has been:
30% of clients are Fortune 100 companies.
Upwork Freelancer Revenue
Upwork made $226.7 million from freelancers in 2020. In other words, Upwork makes most of its $373.63 million revenue from the freelancer side (67.86%).
Freelancers pay a commission on their earnings (between 5-20%), as well as withdrawal fees, tokens to apply for jobs, and membership fees.
Upwork Employer Revenue
Around a third of Upwork’s revenue comes from employers, $146.93 million.
Client spend retention (the amount core clients spent in the last 12 months compared to the previous year) was 102% in 2020. In 2019, it was 102% and in 2018 108%.
80% of Upwork’s Gross Services Volume comes from 20% of its clients.
Is Upwork Profitable?
No, Upwork is not profitable.
In 2020, its net losses were 22.9 million.
Year over year, net losses have fluctuated. Here are Upwork’s net losses from 2016-2020:
Upwork Categories of Work
Freelancers offer 10,000 skills on Upwork in 90+ categories of work.
The most popular categories are:
- Website and app development
- Client support
- Creative & Design
- Finance & accounting
Upwork CEO and Board (Diversity)
Upwork’s CEO since January 1st, 2020, Hayden Brown, is female, as are 50% of Upwork’s board of directors. 38% are from underrepresented communities.
In 2020, Upwork had 540 employees.
The sales team makes up almost half of the workforce, 250 team members.
In 2019, the platform had 570 employees and in 2018, it had 430 employees.
Upwork also engages plenty of freelancers. In 2020, it worked with 1,500 freelancers.
In 2018, the number was 1,000 and in 2019, 1,200. In other words, the number of freelancers contracted by the company has increased by around 20% every year.
Upwork has received $168.8 million in funding in 12 funding rounds. Currently, Upwork is listed on Nasdaq with a share price of $51.16.
Upwork vs Fiverr
One of Upwork’s biggest competitors is Fiverr. But how do the two platforms compare?
Fiverr was founded in 2010. The platform had 3.42 million active buyers in 2020 (compared to Upwork’s 145,400).
However, Upwork processes more transactions each year. In 2020, Fiverr processed $699.3 million worth of transactions, which can be compared to Upwork’s $2.5 billion.
Fiverr’s revenue was $189.51 million in 2020. Upwork’s revenue was $373.63 million.
That said, here’s what Upwork’s growth looked like between 2018-2020:
At the same time, Fiverr grew much faster in that same timespan:
Buyers on Fiverr spent an average of $205 in 2020. Upwork only reports what its core clients spend and that’s $5,000 a year (if all users are taken into consideration, this number could be far lower).
Currently, Upwork trades for $51.16 per share, Fiverr at $249.
For the time being, Upwork’s revenue is almost double the amount of Fiverr’s revenue. But Fiverr is growing faster. The question is: will Upwork succeed in positioning itself for enterprises and that way, not compete with Fiverr for most of its users? And will Fiverr succeed in growing past Upwork, while keeping its focus on smaller projects?
That’s it! There you have my roundup of Upwork user and revenue statistics in 2021.
Upwork is the world’s biggest work marketplace with users in 180+ countries.
At the same time, it hasn’t achieved profitability yet. And it faces competition from other work marketplaces like Fiverr.
Do you think Upwork will remain the biggest work marketplace?
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.