London-based Passionfruit, a Gen Z freelancing platform, has secured a seed round of $3.6 million in an oversubscribed round. This investment round follows the $700k pre-seed round in December 2021 led by UK-based early-stage VC fund Playfair Capital.
The recent financing round was led by firstminute Capital (which also invested in Baserow and Hiphops) and Playfair with participation from FJ Labs and Portfolio Ventures. Also, Atomico, Accel, and Notion scout networks and angels such as Mandeep Singh (Trouva), Xav Collins (Turo), and execs from Stripe, Airbnb, and Workday participated in the round.
Passionfruit will use the new funding to expand its product offering and expand its commercial reach deeper into ever-larger businesses across Europe and North America.
Raffi Salama, co-founder at Passionfruit, said: “Passionfruit is bringing a completely new workforce to the market. Gen Z will represent 27% of the global workforce by 2025 and it has been so inspiring to see our specialists as they say goodbye to the Victorian-age structure of the 9-5, and begin a new life working on their own terms. Better still, companies love working with them this way. Smart businesses are realising that there’s a more elastic and efficient way to manage their relationship with talent.”
Issah Abdul-Moomin, co-founder at Passionfruit, added: “To date, freelancing has been the preserve of a select group of people that have access to work through private offline networks. We are here to make it viable for the masses. Of course we’re not saying that nobody will ever work full-time again, simply that there are tens of millions of young people that would prefer to run their professional lives differently. We exist to give them that choice.”
Adriana Vitagliano, Senior Associate at firstminute Capital, commented, “Raffi and Issah are exceptional entrepreneurs – passionate, thoughtful and incisive – and we couldn’t imagine a more perfect duo to tackle this challenge. We’re confident they’re leading the charge by democratising access to flexible autonomy for the next generation, and are thrilled to be partnering with the Passionfruit team on this journey.”
Henrik Wetter Sanchez, Principal at Playfair Capital, commented: “Raffi and Issah have an uncanny ability to appear to be working in the future. Being two steps ahead in your thinking and execution is the hallmark of founders who can not just follow, but lead category-defining shifts in industries. I could not be more convinced by their vision of a freelance-led Gen Z workforce that urgently needs a demand-led digital home to work, learn and earn. I’m delighted to see Playfair tripling down in this round and continuing to build Passionfruit with this team.”
Gen Z marketing freelancing platform
Passionfruit was founded by Raffi Salama and Issah Abdul-Moomin in 2021 in London and has an office in Lisbon, Portugal. The co-founders met each other on Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP Fellowship programme. Since then, Raffi became part of the launch team of David Beckham and Softbank’s new MLS franchise Inter Miami, while Issah became Corporate Development Director at Group M, the world’s largest media buying business. With an initial focus on marketing specialists, Passionfruit is the first platform to give Gen Z a genuine and robust choice between company employment and freelancing by recreating and improving the end-to-end array of services that full-time work provides. As per the company press release, they will expand into adjacent disciplines to meet customer demand over time.
Currently, freelancers spend at least 45% of their time trying to find new clients, managing administrative burdens, and trying to upskill. Passionfruit radically transforms the day-to-day experience of being a freelancer. Rather than scrapping around for work, managing finances in an Excel spreadsheet, and feeling isolated, specialists on Passionfruit are brought briefs tailored to their skills and interests, have oversight on their annual earnings, and are part of a tightly-knit community through a near-peer mentorship program.