After having spent the last few months here as part of On Deck’s Miami Tech program, Jason Posel came to the conclusion that “it’s a total no-brainer to be in South Florida,” citing the region’s high quality of life and strategic location as some of the main benefits. The founder and CEO of independent workforce management platform GreenLight is moving back to South Florida from Silicon Valley.
Posel, who is originally from London, previously spent almost 10 years living in Fort Lauderdale before moving to Palo Alto in 2015. He moved stateside to develop the US footprint of the staffing company where he worked in the UK. Over the course of four years, he scaled their business from $25 million to $250 million in annual revenue.
GreenLight has developed a platform that streamlines the process of onboarding, managing and paying external contractors. The platform is powered by AI, which properly classifies workers as 1099 or full-time and provides actionable analytics about their client’s workforce. GreenLight makes it possible for US companies to hire talent internationally by dealing with the legal and operational hurdles, letting employers and employees focus on their core business.
The startup has experienced rapid growth, according to Posel: “2018 gross revenue was $0.2m, 2019 was $2m, 2020 was $12m, and current annualized rev is $20m.” The startup helps some of the world’s largest companies, including UpWork and Freelancer.com, manage their freelancers and contractors.
In late 2018, the startup raised a $1.2 million pre-seed round from a combination of VCs and angel investors. Posel plans to raise a seed round in the third quarter of this year.
He also expects to hire as many as 30 employees in the next 12 months. The GreenLight team of seven is globally distributed, with clusters in California and Europe; however, Posel hopes that many of these new hires will be South Florida tech talent or willing to relocate here.
After living in Fort Lauderdale, Posel told Refresh Miami that he moved to Palo Alto because he was looking for a new challenge.
“I planned to stay six months but ended up staying six years. I built an incredible network that enabled me to found my current startup – leveraging the expertise I have developed around the freelance/gig economy and Future of Work.”
Despite enjoying his time in Palo Alto, Posel jumped at the opportunity to spend more time in the sunshine state. “Before the pandemic, it would have been a hard sell,” Posel said. In a post-pandemic context, however, the move made sense. On a personal level, his family was happy to put down roots in Boca Raton. It was a logical decision on a professional level as well: “There is no reason Miami cannot become the flexible work destination for the world.”
Posel believes that South Florida can become an innovation hub for Future of Work startups if local tech leaders leverage three trends.
First, “We should make Future of Work startups think of Miami as the number one place for the core team, hiring locally for positions such as operations, sales, and marketing.” He noted that many startups make the decision to hire their engineers in eastern Europe or Latin America, and Miami’s location and time zone make it a logical choice for international collaboration.
Second, Posel sees South Florida as a bridge to Latin America. “Miami should escalate its voice as the global hub for Latin American founders and high growth companies. Many founders or high growth companies think they need to set up their US office in San Francisco. We should make Miami the clear choice by showcasing Miami’s business visionaries.”
Third, South Florida should position itself as a worthwhile alternative to the Bay Area’s high rents, employment expenses and costs of living, which Posel said no longer must be endured in order to access top talent.
“The innovation economy is too important to not take a leadership role,” said Posel. “Miami needs to be at the front of this tsunami of change or risk being left behind.”
Photo at top of post: Jason Posel, founder and CEO of Greenlight, discusses GreenLight and the gig economy with Keith Rabois and Erik Torenberg during On Deck’s Miami Drop, Miami Tech with Keith Rabois, this spring.
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