The Miami startup has raised $3.3M in seed funding from Miami Angels, Backend Capital and other investor groups.
When Stephanie Golik left South Miami to train as an architect at Boston’s Northeastern University, it didn’t seem like a return to the Magic City was in the cards. After college, Golik spent years working as a product designer in New York’s startup scene. She eventually headed to San Francisco to open an office for Mapfit, which would get acquired by Foursquare, and subsequently work for mobility company Cruise.
But when the pandemic hit, Golik retreated back to Miami to be closer to her family. “I thought I was moving back temporarily,” Golik told Refresh Miami. But eventually, the pull to grow roots in her hometown proved too difficult to avoid. “It just was this awesome, serendipitous thing where I had recommitted to be close to family, and then at the same time the tech world was emerging in and convening around Miami.”
It was towards the onset of the pandemic that Golik reconnected with a New York tech connection, Michael Saloio, and began to explore the idea of developing a way to connect top designers and builders with growing startups in need of some work done.
“During the pandemic, almost everyone I knew was doing side projects,” Golik explained. “It dawned on us that it’s easier than ever to start a company because you have more people that can help you. And it’s easier than ever to be an independent contractor, since there are more startups and more people that need your services.”
Golik and Saloio’s MVP was a landing page shared in a Slack group, acting as a community of creatives looking to undertake side projects that they were passionate about. Unlike platforms such as Fiverr and UpWork, from inception their network has been highly curated to ensure that they connect top notch freelancers and startups.
Another key difference is that Golik noticed that founders and freelancers were both interested in the ability to pay and get paid in equity. “The creatives were thrilled, because it gave them the opportunity to become angel investors with their time,” she noted. It was a good deal for cash-strapped founders too.
And so Huddle was born. Fast forward to today, and the platform is thriving. Across 2021, Huddle raised $3.3 million in seed funding, led by Wave Capital and Outlander with the involvement of Miami-based groups (Miami Angels, Backend Capital), Nomad Capital, Night Capital, and The Council. In addition, they raised a portion of the round on Republic to enable independent creators to get ownership and are now backed by over 750 individual investors.
Golik asserted that this fundraise proves the viability of Huddle’s social talent marketplace model. “We’ve had so many success stories,” she said. Huddle is doubling down on these earlier successes using this fundraise to further develop their products and the community-building element of the platform.
“We are shifting gears into being a truly Web3 company that is community owned,” explained Golik. “We are pulling the community into more and more of the overall decisions and operations within Huddle.”
Huddle currently has eight full-time employees, fully-distributed throughout the US with Miami as their hub.
Learn more about Huddle, and apply to offer your services or find freelancers, by visiting their website.
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