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Small Businesses Are Embracing the Freelance Gig Economy During COVID-19 Crisis. Here’s Why

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freelance economy covid 19

As people limit their ventures out and restaurants are forced to go takeout-only in many cities, food delivery services are seeing an explosion in demand during the pandemic.

Instacart, which delivers for grocers including Safeway and Aldi, saw the highest ever customer demand on its platform last weekend, and has the most “shoppers,” that they’ve ever had, according to the platform.

The boom in food delivery services is the opposite of what other GIG platforms are experiencing with Covid-19, as Uber driving earnings fall and Congress’s pandemic aid package which mostly didn’t cover GIG workers, according to an article in Bloomberg Law.

Research from LinkedIn and Intuit indicates the gig economy is here to stay. That’s good news for most small businesses. There’s never been stronger freelance talent to choose from, in so many skill sets and professions, than today. If you own or manage a small business, you’d be hard-pressed to identify a need you couldn’t fill with a freelancer. Freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork and Fabrito have seen a surge in its user base. Active companies in the markets this week include ShiftPixy, Inc. (NASDAQ: PIXY), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Blue Apron Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: APRN), Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT).

The Freelancers Union’s annual report found that up to 55 million people this year – representing 35% of the total US workforce – are in the freelance workforce. The research anticipates a record 43% of the workforce taking part in the gig economy by 2020.

LinkedIn’s research also supports an increased supply of freelance hours: The LinkedIn article continued: “As small businesses embrace the gig economy, owners and managers can hire freelancers to take on specific scopes of work in specified timeframes.

When you assign your contracted worker to a pressing short-term project, it eases the stress and workload of your staff. It also brings more flexibility and agility to your budgeting. When you need to scale up or down, your hiring can reflect that without the traditional overhead that comes with employees.”

This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire

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AAG Ventures Raises $12.5M in Private Round to Create Economic Empowerment through Play-To-Earn and Learn-To-Earn

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AAG Ventures Raises .5M in Private Round to Create Economic Empowerment through Play-To-Earn and Learn-To-Earn

AAG Ventures (AAGV), the fast-growing Play-to-Earn (P2E) guild and P2E / Learn-to-Earn (L2E) platform, is pleased to announce that it has successfully raised over $12 million in a private funding round that concluded this week. This is the 2nd largest private round for P2E guilds or guild platforms reported to date.


The Private Round was led by Shima Capital, Tribe Capital and Tess Ventures, and includes HashKey Capital, Everest Ventures Group, Republic Realm, Portico Ventures, Genblock Capital, Kosmos Capital, Muses Builder, GDP Venture, Slayton Capital, Synergis Capital, ViaBTC Capital, Sanctor Capital, YellowBlocks, Oyster Ventures, and Fomocraft Ventures. It also includes game studio backers Vulcan Forged, Sipher, Cukies.world, Immortal Game, and Community Gaming.

“The shift from Free2Play to Play2Earn will give rise to the guild model and foster the growth of hundreds of guild startups,” said Han Kao, founder of Sanctor Capital. “AAG Ventures takes this fundamental evolution one step further by providing the tools and infrastructure for these such guilds to operate and serve their scholars.”

The funding will allow AAGV to launch beta versions of its P2E and L2E platforms in 2022 as well as expand its guild. The company has a goal to bring 100M people onto the metaverse by 2030 to spread economic sufficiency.  “Play-To-Earn has given the world a way to deliver billions of dollars to millions of people, often where it is most needed and through an engaging medium,” said Nelly Sutjiadi, Co-Founder and Chairwoman “, We’re excited to accelerate and amplify its impact, as well as introduce the sister concept of Learn-To-Earn, which we think will have comparable impact while educating people.”

The P2E platform will provide the software infrastructure needed by nearly all P2E guilds and serve as the backbone for P2E participants. “We think the best chance for us to get to 100M scholars is by cooperating and enabling other guilds rather than competing with them,” said AAGV Co-Founder and CEO Jack Vinijtrongjit. “The platform model is how we can best do that and is aligned with our deep software expertise.”

The L2E platform is a new concept that takes the best of P2E but redirects its focus directly on education. L2E players will earn crypto while learning transferable skills (e.g., math, programming) that can make them more employable in a gamified fashion. Vladimir Velmeshev, Partner at Kosmos Ventures says “, We are also excited about AAGV’s exploration of future use cases for P2E and the potential shift from in-game tasks to more useful tasks, such as programming, learning, or general problem-solving.”

The funding will also enable AAGV to continue to expand its own guild, which currently includes more than 2,000 scholars across the Philippines and six other countries. This effort will help more people achieve economic sufficiency through P2E and also allow AAGV to expand across the globe, diversify across games and most importantly gain insights on Guilds’ pain points to inform the P2E Platform design.

Media contact: Totis, totis@aag.ventures, +447429602241

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aag-ventures-raises-12-5m-in-private-round-to-create-economic-empowerment-through-play-to-earn-and-learn-to-earn-301436995.html

SOURCE AAG Ventures

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Smart Rental – Smart Devices Subscription Provider Receives 1.1 Million USD in Equity Crowdfunding

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Smart Rental – Smart Devices Subscription Provider Receives 1.1 Million USD in Equity Crowdfunding

HAAS ASIA SDN BHD with brand name Smart Rental, a smart subscription business has successfully raised RM 4.6 million (1.1 million USD) from 177 investors in just one month, vastly exceeding its minimum target amount by more than three times.

This project was facilitated by Malaysia’s leading equity crowdfunding (ECF) platform, MyStartr, which was approved by the Securities Commission (SC) for the Malaysia Co-Investment Fund (MYCIF), which is a fund that co-invests in ECF and peer-to-peer campaigns with a ratio of 1:4. MyStartr aims to raise funds for 5,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by 2030.

A previous crowdfunding at MyStartr platform from February to April of 2020, Linear Channel Sdn Bhd a subsidiary of Haas Asia Sdn Bhd has successfully raised RM1.33 million which far exceeded their original target of RM500,000.

Commenting on the funding achievement, chief executive officer of Haas Asia Sdn Bhd, Joshua Chin Tong Lim said, “our campaign with MyStartr reflects the successful business model recognized by the market. It is an important step in the company’s growth, and we are very grateful to have investors who believed in our growth and potential.”

Smart Rental was first introduced to the market based on a Haas (Hardware-as-a-Service) service provision model (integrated Credit, Services, Exchange into monthly subscription service). This business model has been validated by multiple panels of business experts at the 2019 Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest, where it won recognition as one of the Top 10 best business models; Pitch Selangor 2019, where it achieved the same result; and 2020 Golden Bull Awards, as an Emerging SMEs Award and last but not least, The Lang Titanium Award for The Best Use of Technology. Smart Rental offers 12 or 24-months PC subscription packages at different price points, encompassing the following services: the right to use the PC, regular maintenance visits and software upgrades, repairs and exchanges, and free PC model upgrades upon contract renewal. On average, Smart Rental customers save 87% on the PC purchase cash outlay and 55% on maintenance and services.

Offer a solution to overcome the computer needs

The smart subscription model accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. “Many work-from-home (WFH) and Smart Rental caters to all consumers and SMEs that prefer to get electronic products with worry-free maintenance service for free,” Joshua Chin explained. Within a year, over 1100 subscription contracts have been issued, with a total value of RM 5.2 million. Smart Rental will soon launch its CSR computer crowdsourcing initiative under the brand name Sambong Future, an initiative to connect B40 students to a sponsor thru its contractual giving/gifting.

Smart Rental is also developing a digital engineer platform which will accelerate the maintenance service nationwide and upcoming are Smart Centres across the country with its first outlet opening its doors in Mid Valley. By 2040, it is expected to have more than 50,000 subscribers.

About Smart Rental

Smart Rental is run by Linear Channel Sdn. Bhd, a company that started by refurbishing and reselling second-hand PCs under the brand name BuyNow. The Company diversified into the short-term PC rental market around 2010 and HaaS solutions for PCs in 2019. The Haas model is in high demand as consumers are currently more reliable on devices for learning and getting work done. With this, consumers enjoy similar solutions only previously offered by companies to serve large companies and government agencies. Smart Rental is well-positioned to capitalise on the demand.

SOURCE HAAS ASIA SDN BHD

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Virtual Reality Startup HIKKY Raises 6.5 Billion Yen In Series A Funding Round

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Virtual Reality Startup HIKKY Raises 6.5 Billion Yen In Series A Funding Round

Virtual reality (VR) startup and organizers of the largest VR event in the world HIKKY Co., Ltd. announced today that they have raised 6.5 billion yen ($57 million) in an initial stage of their Series A funding round. They are considering an additional funding stage this round and plan to maintain autonomy following this funding.

The capital raised will help expand HIKKY’s virtual reality services both domestically and abroad, as well as to strengthen their organizational foundation. These services include the Vket series of VR events, the browser-based VR engine called Vket Cloud that runs on smartphones and computers and developing and operating an open metaverse using Vket Cloud. 

HIKKY advocates for an open metaverse where users can:

  • Interact with each other beyond the bounds of platforms
  • Communicate and explore in an open world format
  • Deploy original content on their own domains
  • Access VR easily from any device with no app needed

“Here at HIKKY, we will accelerate our metaverse business with the help of communication infrastructure, research institutes, and global networks of NTT DOCOMO, INC. and NTT Group,” said Yasushi Funakoshi, HIKKY’s CEO. “We will continue to provide NTT DOCOMO with XR services, technologies, and content production as per our strengths. We are extremely grateful to all the creators who have supported us, as well as the visitors and companies who have taken part in Vket events.”

HIKKY develops its own proprietary VR engine called Vket Cloud, which is used to create metaverse content that users can access with a simple link click, without a dedicated computer or mobile application. It also supports multiplayer mode, and users can enjoy communicating with others in the same space with voice or text chat.

The startup also runs the largest event series in VR, called Vket. Thousands of artists, many international corporate sponsors, and millions of users visit these events. Vket has become a major player in the VR event space and has received awards, including the VR Awards’ Marketing Grand Prize in 2020, Japan’s XR Creative Awards’ Overall Grand Prize in 2020, and two Guinness World Records in 2021.

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