expertlead is a global community of highly qualified tech freelancers such as Developers, Data Scientists, UI/UX Designers, technical Project/Product managers and Penetration Testers. They leverage technology in order to bring together leading freelance IT talent, build a community around them and to help the clients assess tech talent and get access to the very best IT talents on a project basis. Experts from expertlead community evaluate new applicants to their community applying a thorough technical quality screening, consisting of a live coding exercise and a Q&A interview that can be conducted from home via screen sharing. Based on that the company offers two service lines to the clients: first, they match vetted tech talents from their community to the clients IT projects. Second, they help their clients assess their own full-time tech applicants as-a-service, leveraging our peer-to-peer assessment process. On the community side, the company’s leverage technology to engage the most ambitious tech freelancers from all over the globe, they help them develop in their careers and they match them precisely to businesses in need of groundbreaking innovations. Easy Engineering: What’s the news for 2020 about new products? Expertlead: In 2020 we will see a number of new product launches and enhancements here at expertlead. I cannot name all of them, but I am happy to share our plans for a selection of products that we are currently working on. We will further expand our peer-to-peer quality testing, making it accessible for an even wider range of tech stacks and increasing the variety and complexity of our interviews. We will also facilitate conducting these interviews for our peer-to-peer interviewers by launching a new tool for compiling and holding these interviews. With regards to finding talent, we will further improve our tech tools allowing us to identify and pre-qualify leading tech talent from all over the globe. Another project we are working on serves to further enhance our matching precision and speed between incoming client projects and available freelance IT talent from our community, taking into consideration an even larger set of variables and specifications. E.E: What are the ranges of traded products? Expertlead: For companies, expertlead takes over the technical assessment of tech specialists with its community. This creates transparency regarding the skill level of e.g. a developer and it saves our clients precious IT interviewing time. This assessment is the basis for two service lines that we are currently offering: we provide access to an exclusive freelance IT talent pool on a project basis to drive digitization and with expertview we offer our testing process as-a-service for our clients’ own full-time applicants. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? Expertlead: In Germany, the number of open IT positions in 2019 was 124,000 – up from 82,000 the year before. That is a jump of more than 50% from one year to another, hence the need for IT talent is growing strongly. Going forward, the lack of IT specialists is said to become even more acute. To address the talent shortage, companies need to open up to new ways of hiring and working, raise their profile and look for IT freelancers on a global scale. Only looking for talents that can start working on-site at your headquarters and that stay on your own payroll for a number of years, will not be enough anymore as IT talent is scarce and there is a global trend towards self-employment among IT talents. In Germany, there is unfortunately still a long way to go for remote collaboration to happen at scale. But despite all the negatives coming with the covid-19 crisis, this might at least be one positive side effect: German businesses realize right now that remote collaboration works and might even foster productivity rather than harm it. This might give our market and digitization efforts in Germany in general another uplift once the economy is strong enough to rebound from the current covid-19 crisis. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? Expertlead: As digitalization progresses, companies from all industries and regardless of their size are forced to push innovative and digital projects in order to remain competitive. The demand for IT experts has therefore increased noticeably and, as mentioned above, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fill permanent IT positions. This is mainly due to the fact that more and more IT experts are opting to become self-employed, as the risk of this step is comparatively low due to the high demand. Other major drivers of the trend towards self-employment include higher independence, the variety of tasks and projects to work on, better remote working options and often also better pay. One solution to counter the lack of IT specialists is to integrate qualified freelancers into the existing structures. Companies that are open to modern working models such as remote work and are prepared to work with specialists from a distance on a project-by-project basis thus have the opportunity to quickly increase the pool of available talent. E.E: How does the service of expertlead differ from that of a staffing agency? Expertlead: The major difference is that we see ourselves as an HR tech company with the ambition to solve market challenges leveraging IT solutions. We leverage IT across the entire value chain, from finding talent, qualifying them, and matching them to projects. That’s why we have a large internal IT team to constantly come up with new solutions in an industry that still works very manually. At the same time and unlike most of the staffing agencies, our ambition is not to simply forward CVs. We want to understand the true potential of IT talents and therefore have a strong focus on testing them. For our clients, this is a big value-add – we do not just forward a couple of CVs, asking them to pick the right one even though that might cost them a lot of time or they might not even be able to identify who the best technical fit is. We evaluate the proficiency of, for instance, a developer through our peer-to-peer assessment in order to only send the one CV that can get the job done. Staffing agencies cannot do that as they lack the IT knowledge and cannot rely on a community for testing. Last but not least, we have the intention to create a community of leading IT talent that truly benefits from being part of this community going beyond the access to project work. For self-employed tech experts, the challenge is that they as freelancers need to take care of a lot more than “just” project work – be they administrative tasks, project acquisition, and last but not least training and education. We want to be a long-term partner that supports them with all tasks they need to take care of next to project work through our platform. On top of that, they shall of course benefit from working on the most challenging tech projects in the industry and from the vetted community members around them through peer-to-peer engagement. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? Expertlead: Our peer-to-peer approach is unique in many ways and comes with a lot of benefits for all parties involved. By leveraging a community of developers to assess other developers, we are able to scale IT quality assessments without compromising on the quality of the test. Candidates undertaking the peer-to-peer interview appreciate that they are talking to a true expert in their respective field of expertise, and that they get the chance to have a discussion rather than a take-home assignment without any personal interaction. Clients, on the other hand, save a lot of valuable interview time of their CTOs, Head of or Team Lead Engineerings that they can invest in driving their products or IT strategy instead. Clients who are not digital natives appreciate the ability to understand the true proficiency and skill level of a developer which is hard to judge based on the CV only. Last but not least, our interviewers’ feedback is very positive as well: they appreciate the opportunity to learn or improve the skill of conducting interview assessments and they enjoy the exchange and discussion with other driven and skilled IT talents from all over the world. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2020? Expertlead: Just as many other industries our market is affected by the downturn in the economy as well – not to the extent as, for instance, the travel industry, but we are a B2B company and business spending is clearly affected. At the same time, we are lucky to be fully focused on IT, where the demand for talent and hiring is less affected than hiring in many other areas. Many IT projects are being paused, not cancelled. And the ones who are still running, can be worked on remotely – from an operations point of view there is no reason to halt an IT project just because employees are working from home now. On top of that, we are lucky to have built up a diversified client portfolio in the last two and a half years: whereas some clients pause their projects, some other clients of ours continue or even expand, for instance clients from the food or payments industry or scale-ups who just raised new funding rounds. All that makes us feel optimistic despite a severe economic downturn that I unfortunately expect to see at least in Q2 this year – we will see impacts on our business, but given where we are at with our products, our clients, and the great internal team we have built up by now, we feel like we can get out of this stronger than before. Other than that and despite all the bad news in recent weeks, I still hope and believe that the global health care systems are strong enough to take care of those in need and that we on top of that see a global economic recovery starting in Q3, 2020.