By Kristy Dorsey

Glasgow technology start-up Gigged.AI is set to double its headcount after closing an over-subscribed £600,000 investment round.

The money will be used to expand the start-up’s presence in the talent platform industry, a market that consultants McKinsey forecast will have a global worth $2.7 trillion (£2 trillion) by 2025. Launched in July, Gigged.AI links IT freelancers with organisations seeking temporary staff for digital projects.

The funding round was led by early-stage venture capital firm Techstart Ventures, with additional angel support from other UK tech sector investors who will form the newly-created Gigged.AI advisory board. They include company chairman John Brodie and Warwick Beresford-Jones, co-founders of data analytics specialist Aquila Insight; Nick Jones, co-founder of cryptocurrency wallet Zumo; and Grant Fraser, co-founder and chief executive of Glasgow mobile marketing agency Digitonic.

“Since our launch in July 2021, the response to our product has surpassed out expectations and confirmed there is a substantial market for our proposition at a time when how we work is changing,” said Rich Wilson, chief executive of Gigged.AI.

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“Techstart and our other prominent investors are the ideal partners to help us scale to reach a much wider audience and further develop our offering to position us at the forefront of the global talent platform industry.”

Founded by Mr Wilson and chief technology officer Craig Short, Gigged.AI says it has developed unique algorithms that minimise geographical bias to match the most relevant on-demand professionals to a specific statement of work, reducing onboarding time by six weeks and allowing projects to be completed faster and within budget. It currently has 79 clients and 1,100 users.

The company has been financed to date by a £50,000 pre-seed funding round and a £95,000 grant from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund. One assessor for the funding body described the platform as having “clear potential to be a game-changer”.

With a career in recruitment that has included senior roles with Allegis Group and Gartner, Mr Wilson linked up with Mr Short to start Gigged.AI as a side project in March 2020. A career freelancer, Mr Short had become frustrated with the traditional ways of finding his next project.

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The company has hired the first two of seven new staff it expects to recruit during its next stage of growth, taking the headcount at its new office in Glasgow’s Renfrew Street to 14 by the end of this year.

The co-founders were supported in the fundraising by law firm Davidson Chalmers Stewart. Stephen Smith, a partner at the firm, said: “Gigged.AI has completed an over-subscribed funding round and has attracted interest from major players within the UK technology sector.

“This really highlights the strength of its proposition and its potential underlying value within a major global marketplace.”

The company will invest in further developing its technology for future product launches, one of which will be an internal talent marketplace product for larger organisations. This is expected to be introduced in the first part of next year.

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Headquartered in Belfast, Techstart Ventures provides seed capital to young firms across Scotland and Northern Ireland. Sensing technology specialist Touchlab, legal platform Valla and Stirling “wonder metal” company Integrated Graphene are among some of its existing Scottish investments.

“From our earliest conversations, we were impressed by Rich and Craig’s domain expertise and product vision,” Techstart Ventures investor Calum Forsyth said. “We are delighted to back Gigged.AI and join them on their journey to revolutionise how organisations engage with top-tier freelancers.”

In conjunction with his professional endeavours, Mr Wilson is also an advocate for improving mental health in the workplace.

He is the host of the First Time Founders series run by This Is Me Scotland, where he is also a member of the board. He is additionally a board member at The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and artificial intelligence.