Freelancers in Japan are often looked down upon, and seen as misfits who don’t fit into “proper” society. Sollective is working to change this through our platform of vetted freelancers and companies that encourages lasting relationships not gigs. While we’re at an early stage, investors believe in what we’re doing, and we’ve raised a total of ¥410 million thus far. We’ve also been attracting media attention, being recognized as one of Japan’s 100 best startups in 2023, among other accolades.
International from the beginning
Sollective was born out of a conversation between its founders, Erika and Allen.
Though Erika is Japanese by birth, she’d spent most of her life abroad, including working as an HR professional in the US. Returning to Japan, she noticed how companies here were often unwilling to welcome freelancers into their team, and how when she herself did freelancing, others worried that she had fallen on hard times.
Meanwhile, Allen, a native New Yorker, had come to Japan to work as UX Director of a company in Japan. Erika was working at the same company, and the two of them discussed the challenges of building a team in Japan.
When COVID happened, it prompted a shift towards remote work and Japanese companies were compelled to adapt quickly. Recognizing this transformation, Erika and Allen identified a unique opportunity. As organizations began to embrace the concept of remote workers, they also started seeking innovative approaches to assemble agile teams. This change was partly driven by the talent scarcity within Japan, particularly among talent with digital skill sets. With a limited talent pool and an increasing demand for skilled professionals, these companies gradually warmed to the idea of working with freelancers — individuals who could simultaneously contribute to multiple organizations.
As Sollective grows, it has continued to embrace diversity. The team has maintained gender parity, and has global members, from places like the US, France, Australia, and Korea.
We’ve designed our business and products for the freelancers we’re looking to empower. Unlike how freelancing has been done in the past in Japan, our platform not only offers job opportunities, but also an essential freelance business suite that creates a modern interface for difficult client business processes in Japan like contract generation, invoices, and time management and reporting.
We don’t charge freelancers a commission, and rather we take a simple up-front introduction fee from companies. This incentives both clients and freelancers to have productive, lasting relationships.
We’re not just a platform though. We also bring the freelancing community together through a host of regular community events. Our members also enjoy exclusive perks.
Interact directly with customers
As a company, we believe it is important to remove barriers between our customers and engineers. You’ll have the opportunity to talk directly with the freelancers using our platform, seeing first hand their successes and struggles so that we can continue to build a product that helps them succeed.