Sebastian Hinckel, Michael Walther and Hakan Wolf have been IT freelancers for a long time. They know the industry's strengths and weaknesses, and how order volumes can alternate between good and more worrisome. Phases where you're literally crushed by projects are followed by periods when you can hardly land a single one. It's particularly hard for freelancers to have to turn away big projects because they can't find partners they could share the project with quickly enough. The three entrepreneurs want to solve this problem with their new startup.
Their premise: "Until now there's been almost no network that IT folks really use, where experts can find each other for projects," says the team. Professional networks like Xing or LinkedIn are too broad-based to look for a suitable partner quickly and easily. These experiences are what led to the idea of a platform called LEMONSGATE, where both freelancers and IT service providers can post their capabilities directly and simply, and find projects or partners that match their skills.
Unlike with the large recruiting agencies, here IT experts and service providers can offer their skills only for specific fields, by the day or by the hour. This lets them access small, specialized jobs. Freelancers can also join forces in teams to take on larger projects together, that they could not have accepted individually.
The three founders place great value on quality control, which is why LEMONSGATE is designed as a closed expert network. Only those who are invited or recommended can join, to ensure that only the best IT experts in the market take part. Members are also evaluated in individual interviews.
The online platform is currently under construction and only accessible to around 300 selected test members, both service providers and partner companies. The expert network is being officially introduced at the CeBIT SCALE11 startup show. For the team, participating in SCALE11 is an opportunity to directly connect with their target group. Personal acquaintance is of particular value for this closed club. And of course the trade show also offers the chance to launch new collaborative endeavors.
A networking approach is foundational to the company. The team members and partners who are continuously improving LEMONSGATE primarily collaborate virtually. LEMONSGATE is financed by commissions that are paid for each brokered project, ranging from 2.5 to 10 percent depending on use, which is below market rate according to the founders.
The energetic founders have ambitious goals for the future. They want to become a brand in Germany that people associate with exceptional quality in IT services. Before 2016 is out they aim to grow to 1000 partners, and to add another zero to this number within three years.
Interested parties can come learn about LEMONSGATE at SCALE11 from 11 to 18 March.