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OnForce Acquired, Merges With Beeline To Position For Freelance Market Explosion

The parent company of vendor management software company Beeline has acquired freelance management company OnForce for an undisclosed amount, in a deal the two companies said would provide an end-to-end solution to position solution providers for an exploding market for freelance talent.

The parent company of Beeline has acquired OnForce for an undisclosed amount, in a deal that the two companies said would provide an end-to-end extended and freelance workforce platform to better position solution providers for an exploding market for freelance and external talent.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Adecco Group, the Beeline parent company, announced on Monday that it had acquired the cloud-based freelance marketplace software company and its network of vetted freelancers for an undisclosed amount. Adecco said it plans to merge OnForce under Beeline's workforce solution portfolio, but the two companies will maintain their individual brands.

Together, Beeline's vendor management software (VMS) and OnForce's freelance management software (FMS) will give clients and partners end-to-end access to the full supply chain of the extended workforce. It's a "natural extension" of the Beeline business, President Doug Leeby said in an interview with CRN.

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"For us, it's very strategic and Adecco doesn't make acquisitions lightly," Leeby said. "We think this is a real win for both organizations."

The freelance market and extended workforce markets are ripe for expansion, Leeby said, with Millennials, economic conditions, geographic expansions and changing business models driving the push into a more flexible and scalable workforce. The market for freelancers is projected to hit $17 million to $20 million, with one in four workers having been a freelancer by 2020.

"I think this is here to stay ...There's a tremendous opportunity to put the platform in place so business can manage and access the talent in a readily available way and efficient manner," OnForce CEO Peter Cannone said. "There's immediate need; we're ready and willing to go," he said.

"This is really a bet on the future," Leeby said. "This element of freelancers is widely left unmanaged today. For us to be able to go out to our clients now and give them the ability to manage the freelancers as well as the talent networks, that will stem a lot of growth," he said.

As for Lexington, Mass.-based OnForce, Cannone said that it will allow the freelance workforce to accelerate its product road map with backing from venture-backed Adecco Group, as well as pursue an international expansion. He said that becoming part of the "Beeline family" allows OnForce to expand deeper inside of clients and bring additional solutions beyond just helping clients manage freelancers and fill gaps in skills and geographical reach.

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"We're excited because we think we're really going to be able to expand the breadth of our offerings inside of our existing enterprise clients, have a more powerful offering in the market to bring to potential clients, and we're teaming up with Beeline on potential opportunities as well as others in the MSP space," Cannone said. "This independent contractor's space is growing leaps and bounds, and I think a lot of enterprise clients, a lot of companies, are looking for ways that they can manage it and we now have the ability to help them do that."

The companies will work together to develop integration between the two platforms, but said they will not limit clients and partners from working exclusively with the merged companies. While OnForce users will benefit from an integration with Beeline, Leeby said that the OnForce team will build APIs into Beeline competitors as well, so clients and partners have the choice of companies in the addressable market.

"From a partner perspective, we don't want to limit anybody and make it a Beeline-only solution where you have a competitor to Beeline in the industry and you can't use OnForce. We really believe in providing value to the market and not making it only Beeline," Leeby said.

Going forward, Leeby said to expect investments in expanding headcount at Beeline and OnForce, as well as a continued product development push. He said that it will help shorten the product's path to market, both in North America and internationally.

PUBLISHED AUG. 12, 2014

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