Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 227. Today we have Yunas from Archie about the use case or business case for why his customers use Archie.
Archie helps save time, frustration and costly errors by removing paperwork and hacky tools.
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Show length: 23 minutes
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Music: 00:02 Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens or should happen when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment in HR tech. That’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup: 00:25 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today, we have Yunas on from Archie and we’ll be talking about the use case or the business case for why his prospects and customers pick Archie. So let’s just jump right into it. Yunas, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and Archie?
Yunas: 00:45 Of course. Thanks for having me, William.
William Tincup: 00:47 Sure.
Yunas: 00:48 Pleasure to be here. I’m super excited to chat a little bit more about myself and about Archie. And so just a very quick background about myself. I’m originally from Puerto Rico, born and raised. I moved to the US for college. I am first generation to go to college and I went to a small business school in the Boston area called Bentley and post Bentley, basically cut my teeth in different types of jobs from helping with management consulting.
Then I decided to transition into a tech role at Square out in the Bay Area where I was helping them scale the go to market teams. And then during my time there, I realized my passion for product engineering and design and had to decide to move closer to that space, at which point I got approached by Facebook to join a small stealth team, working on commerce and payments.
And so during my time at Square and really Facebook or Meta, my goal and the things that I loved the most was I was always helping build products that would help give people access, whether it is enabling any small business to accept payments, to at Facebook, where I was helping small businesses onboard and sell natively through the family of apps, which is where all the consumers are.
A lot of it was around how you give people access. And so, I grew up in an extremely financially unstable environment and had to deal firsthand with parents getting paid late, how that impacted my life and all those things. And so, as I started to think about what I wanted to build, biggest thing holding me back was my student loans. I paid them off in Feb 2020, and then three weeks later the pandemic started.
And so I had to delay my dream until the world got into a slightly better state where it was a little bit more predictable, but then after that, decided to take the leap and start building Archie. And so all of it came from my co-founder, Cassandra, and she was working with Dylan who’s also one of our co-founders, running and building a business that was hiring hundreds and thousands of freelancers every month.
And what they discovered is that on the business side it’s extremely cumbersome to do everything from sourcing the talent, onboarding them, issuing contracts, paying them, paying the freelancers and doing taxes for the freelancers. All of it is extremely manual. And on the freelancer side, it’s really cumbersome because freelancers are going to be the vast majority of the US working population in a couple years, yet they still lack access to financial services. They still have to wait 30, 60, 90 days to get paid for what they’ve already done.
And so what we’re looking to build with Archie really is software that enables businesses to work more seamlessly and collaboratively with freelancers, serve that, build that as an on-ramp to enable businesses to really tap into the magic of the freelance economy, and the broader vision really is to build the financial infrastructure for the future of work. And so, again, our initial product is mostly helping businesses work with freelancers more seamlessly.
William Tincup: 04:03 And so, for the audience, freelancers, as we think of, is that any type of freelance work? Like professional services, creative design, things like that? Or are we also looking at like blue collar labor, et cetera? Like what are we defining currently as freelance labor?
Yunas: 04:26 Yeah, that’s a great question. And so for us, freelance labor is anyone who gets paid as a 1099 employee versus a full-time employee. And so these show up in all sorts of ways, whether it is blue collar work, all the way to highly skilled project work, to what we call long term contractors or perma-lancers.
I would say Archie’s built mostly to help businesses that hire a lot of highly skilled project to project freelancers. So that could be consultants. It could be, in the creative space, designers, photographers, videographers, even influencers and content creators. So anyone that really you would pay as a 1099er.
William Tincup: 05:07 So with the highly skilled folks that y’all are serving kind of a majority of right now, what are their needs? Let’s flip this around real quick. What do they need that’s the unmet or not being taken care of as best it could be?
Yunas: 05:23 Yeah, that’s a great question. So what we’re finding is that businesses that work with these types of freelancers are struggling for a couple of reasons. Number one, with COVID, remote trends and the great resignation, there’s obviously talent shortage and ability to find the absolute best talent you need to execute against your business goals.
And so businesses are struggling with that. Businesses are also struggling with the entire process of onboarding these people, issuing contracts, paying taxes, and how all of this reconciles with their books. And so those are some of the biggest pain points that we solve for that today, businesses have to use three, four, or five different tools just to be able to manage this workflow and also throw bodies at it. So typically what we’re seeing is that companies sometimes hire freelancers to manage their freelancers because of how cumbersome the process is. That’s on the business side, some of the pain points we’re seeing.
William Tincup: 06:23 What does it take for a company to thrive with freelancers? If you could build it from scratch and especially on the corporate side, you could build their mentality from scratch, much less their technology stack, but what does it take? Because you can see some companies just thrive. I know, because I used to work in the creative industry and you could just tell there was just some companies were just hardwired. They got it. They set freelancers up for success and they thrive with it. And then I also saw the opposite.
So what do you see, from your perspective, what do you see where you can see that the company really gets it and they’ve set up different things to make sure to ensure success with freelancers?
Yunas: 07:17 Yeah, that’s a great question. A lot of the trends that we’re seeing here is that the companies that really thrive is that they treat the talent that they work with exceptionally well, regardless of the talent being full time or freelance, because in the end, there’s a competition for talent and getting the right people to work on the right things.
And so what we’re seeing is the people that thrive or companies that thrive, they really, really, really care about their freelance workforce. And that shows up in terms of how structured their processes are. It shows up in terms of what team payment terms they offer. It shows up in the way in which contracts are structured. And ultimately their ability to attract and retain that talent, it’s tied to all those things because unfortunately the vast majority of freelancers have to spend 40, 50% of their time following with their clients, trying to get paid, asking for visibility around payments.
And today these processes are completely opaque. And so what we see leaders doing is really implementing solutions like Archie, where really streamlines their internal processes and gives a freelancer or their talent a lot more visibility and clarity around when they’re going to get paid.
William Tincup: 08:34 I like how you reframed it because these terms, these artificial terms of freelancers and contract and permanent and full time and this, that, and the other, it’s talent. It’s just talent. Right?
Yunas: 08:46 Mm-hmm.
William Tincup: 08:48 And so, to have a mindset, for a leader, for people that are recruiting and talent acquisition folks and HR, for them to just look at talent as talent. And we’ve treated freelancers historically like second class citizens. And so I think one of the things that you’re nibbling around the edges is, okay, well, you can continue to do that at your peril, because they’re just not going to work with you.
I remember payment terms being net 90, net 120, all these kind of crazy things. It’s like, that’s insane, especially if you’re a small, freelance or freelance shop and you’re working with a big company. I love the idea of things being transparent.
What else do you see now from the company side and working with freelancers, what else do they need to provide for that talent for them to thrive? And again, you even said it I think really, really well, to attract and retain that type of talent.
Yunas: 10:00 Yeah. That’s a great point. And to add to what you were mentioning around talent really, what we’re seeing is that that’s the best way in which companies and leaders really are staying competitive. And so something that we’re seeing is that they’re even … we’ve had some clients that talk about, we’re a great place to work. They really think about freelancers as top talent. And it’s not about freelance versus not. It’s really, a lot of the best talent is deciding to go and start their own business and having to wait 30, 60, 90, 120 day payment terms when your bills as a business of one are due every month, it’s completely, it’s really, really bad for them. And so in a world where the vast majority of the US working population is freelance, the current infrastructure is just not set up to support that.
And so that’s a lot of what we discuss internally at Archie and sort of the vision for us and how we communicate with our clients. In terms of what clients are doing today on top of transparency, is really starting to think about, how do they provide better payment terms? How do they give projects and set them up for success and make sure that when these freelancers or talent is really working, that they have very clear deliverables, very clear timelines, and it’s not a transactional type of relationship, but rather trying to build long term relationships with these people.
And so when different needs arise, you can tap into your network and tap into the people you’ve already worked with to make sure that you absolutely have the best talent with you when you need to execute on hyper specific projects. And so that’s a lot of what we’re seeing from the agency side that our clients are doing and leaning more into.
William Tincup: 12:00 Do you foresee a time where we, again, think of talent in this way, where there’s benefits and sign on bonuses and commissions and employee referrals? If done well, do you see a world where there’s a potentiality of those types of things?
Yunas: 12:20 Yeah. A hundred percent. And so a lot of what we think about here is around how do we build the financial infrastructure for the future of work, that future of work being freelance, right? And so what I mentioned earlier during the conversation, it’s all around, okay, these people are going to be the vast majority of the working population. They don’t have access to financial services because traditional financial institutions, the way they underwrite financial risk, it’s on a one-to-one relationship between employee and employer.
But in a world where there’s a one to many relationship of an employee to many employers, legacy institutions don’t know how to underwrite that, which means that these people don’t get access to credit. They don’t get benefits, which traditionally are sold through via employers. These people don’t get access to loans and mortgages and all these things that are essential to economic mobility and financial access.
And so a lot of what we’re trying to do with Archie is sort of start building that framework and shift the paradigm to allow for us to then start offering other financial services to the freelancers. And so how that comes to life is still something we’re iterating on, but the reality is like, that’s a big opportunity for us and something we’re really focused on because we believe that’s the future.
William Tincup: 13:41 I love that. I love that. And it’s needed. Much, much, much needed. If someone listening to the podcast has never worked with freelance talent, for whatever reason, maybe it was just dissuaded from leadership and just everything was kind of a full time culture, or maybe a union shop or whatever. It doesn’t really matter, but they’ve never worked with freelancers and this type of talent, what’s your best suggestions on kind of getting started correctly, so that they don’t have to undo things in a year from now? How do they start off on the right foot?
Yunas: 14:20 Yeah, that’s a great question. So I would say some of the more nuanced things around working with freelancers is making sure that, when you’re onboarding them, making sure that the right contracts are in place so that you can protect yourself and protect the people you’re working with.
Number two is around making sure that you’re gathering all the tax and banking information in a compliant way. So that at the end of the year, you don’t have to scramble to go and do the 1099s for the talent you’re working with.
And so lastly, I would say, is thinking a lot about what processes and how can you set up yourself so that you can spin up teams or bring on people to augment your staff in a way that’s seamless and not super cumbersome for not only your internal teams, but also to the people you’re working with.
And so those are sort of the things I would keep in mind. And so obviously Archie helps a lot of those things, but that’s what we’ve seen people that set themselves up for success do. Because in the end, what you’re really doing is automating the entire process end to end and allowing your teams to focus on the high impact, high value work, and letting us take the back office of working with freelancers away and take care of that for you.
William Tincup: 15:47 I like that you mentioned processes because I’ve seen some of those success or failure points be around quality or communication or both. And so if you over index and make sure that you’ve got great processes to work with this type of talent, then you’re going to manage towards the outcomes of quality. How do we manage quality together, how do we manage communication together, et cetera. So I love that.
Okay. So now let’s switch to Archie itself and your favorite part of the demo. And what I mean by this is, when you get to show Archie to someone for the first time, they’ve never seen it, you’ve talked about it maybe, and you crack it open and this is the first time that they’ve seen it, what’s your favorite part of Archie?
Yunas: 16:38 Yeah, one of my favorite parts. So I’m kind of like a process nerd a little bit. So I really do enjoy highly simplifying highly complex things, personally. So I would say the things that I enjoy the most in my mind is showing how easy it is to really get someone onboard and set up. And by someone, I mean the talent or the freelancer.
And I love when I demo our tax integration that allows for the people who, or the businesses that use Archie, at the end of the year with a click of a button, we basically go and go file, generate, and send all 1099s to everyone they worked with that year, which is an incredible time and cost saver. And so those are the things that I enjoy the most.
What I oftentimes get reactions from our clients or perspective clients really is the ease use of use. The tools that exist today are so cumbersome. Companies are hacking together spreadsheets, air tables, contract signature software, some sort of bill pay solution, and string them all together with people and emails and all these different things. And so when they see Archie, they’re always blown away by how intuitive it is, as well as how nice it looks. It looks like anyone could use it. Versus if you go to any of the [inaudible 00:18:09] solutions that are in market today, it’s really a nightmare for most people. So those are some of the things I’ve enjoyed.
William Tincup: 18:16 I love it. So buying questions kind of files into two categories. People that have bought something like this and people that have never bought anything like this. Let’s just kind of make it extreme. What are some of the buying questions that you just love from those different types of buyers? Like you just love that the line of logic or their line of thinking or just questions that they ask.
Yunas: 18:45 Yeah. That’s a great question. What we find is that if it’s a buyer that has purchased something like this, or at least has worked with a lot of freelancers in, let’s call it the old way, I love all the questions around understanding our accounting integrations. So making sure that everything that gets paid through the platform is seamlessly and compliantly synced with their accounting software.
And so typically when people ask about that, it’s like, okay, they know what they’re doing. They’ve hired freelancers. They’re asking the right questions when they’re asking about accounting software and making sure that everything is syncing properly when they’re asking questions around 1099s, because that means that they’ve gone through the motion of having to do this whole thing manually in the past. And then they’re likely going to see the value.
And then lastly, all around document ingestion. Like how do you have the freelancer send you the W-9 or connect their bank account and all these different things? That means that they’ve dealt in the past with having to collect all this stuff manually and have to send it to either their accounting team or different teams within the company.
Because if you really think about a lot of what’s happening in the market today, is when you think about freelancers, freelancers typically get hired and onboarded in a more decentralized manner, meaning the person who has the need is typically the one who goes and sources a person and onboards them. And then typically other teams deal with what the payments per se. But what we’re doing is really connecting and building that connective tissue across the organization to make it more efficient to work with freelancers. So those are some of the questions that I get from people that really, really know about existing tools.
William Tincup: 20:36 I love it. Last question in theme is around success stories, customer success stories. And without brands, without names, things like that, but just where you’ve seen folks use Archie and you’re like, “Yeah, this is exactly, this is why we built this. This is why it’s here. This company is using it is exactly in the right way.”
Yunas: 21:01 Great question. Our roots are really in the creative space. So my co-founders, they’re previous agency owners and operators. And so as you think about where we found most and who we built for, it was really with the agency/marketing/media type company where they’re service based businesses. They tend to rely on people to execute against their work. And so we found incredible traction in the creative marketing agencies and media companies, as well as advertising companies. And that’s what we built for.
Now, the interesting thing is that the product is actually quite agnostic. And we found that from companies that organically came to us in the startup space, in the retail space, as well as education. And so we’ve had clients that came inbound to us, we did a demo, they onboarded the next day, and the following day, they started paying people through Archie. So the signup was incredibly easy and straightforward for them.
So again, focus on the creative marketing, advertising, and media, but we have use cases across other industries where we’re really seeing a lot of traction.
William Tincup: 22:23 I was going to ask you how fast you could stand this up and you answered it. Pretty fast. That’s awesome. Yunas, this has been absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on the Use Case podcast.
Yunas: 22:38 Thanks for having me, William.
William Tincup: 22:39 Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case podcast. Until next time.
Music: 22:45 You’ve been listening to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up recruitingdaily.com.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.