Digital solutions provider Protonn announced that it has raised $9 Mn in seed funding led by Matrix Partners India, along with 021 Capital and Tanglin Venture Partners.
Angel investors, including Flipkart cofounder Binny Bansal, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, former Whatsapp business chief Neeraj Arora, Udaan cofounder Sujeet Kumar, and CRED founder Kunal Shah also participated in the round.
Founded by early Flipkart executives Anil Goteti and Mausam Bhatt in 2020, Protonn allows independent professionals like lawyers, graphic designers and nutritionists to launch their businesses online, create videos, conduct live sessions, generate payment links, and track their business’ financial performance.
The company will deploy the funds to hire new employees, launch its product in the market, and continue product development.
“Video technology in professional settings hasn’t kept pace with advances on the consumer front pioneered by apps like Snapchat and TikTok,” Bhatt said.
Currently, Protonn’s 25 member team has an international workforce with staff across the US, Europe, and India. The funding comes at a time when Protonn launched its product to its first users in the US after months of product development and beta testing.
Speaking on the scope of the market, Anil Goteti, cofounder, Protonn added “Independent professionals power the economic engine of the world. In the US alone, nearly 60 Mn independent professionals generate more than $1.2 Tn in annual earnings — that’s 36% of the total US workforce. ‘Proto’ in greek means ‘first’, and Protonn’s purpose is to put the needs of those millions of professionals first to help them thrive.”
According to a report by ASSOCHAM, the compounded annual growth rate of the gig economy is 17%, expected to reach $455 Bn by 2023. In another study, almost one in five workers will be freelancers or contract workers by 2020.
Now, with Covid-19 having accelerated the growth of the industry multifold, freelancers are marching towards various marketplaces to explore the opportunity. Several startups such as Refrens and Protonn work towards streamlining the day to day functions of freelancers and individuals, whether it be video services, end to end business operations or even sales.