“Agency-caliber talent at half the cost.” That was the pitch for Solvate, the freelance labor marketplace based in New York that raised $6.3 million from investors including RRE Ventures and DFJ Gotham Ventures. But as of today, Solvate is no longer accepting new users and individual pages on the site have started disappearing. The company sent out an email to users obtained by TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha: “Effective March 1st, we are shutting down this service. We are proud to have connected US-based independent professionals with companies for contract work, but ultimately we couldn’t scale it in its current configuration.”
Solvate, whose name means “a more or less loosely bonded complex formed between a solvent and a dissolved species,” raised $4 million just last year. “We are becoming the intermediary between parties who are already related but don’t have a clear path to work together,” CEO and co-founder Michael Paolucci wrote in 2010. “We’ve standardized the way to describe thousands of services people can perform, as well as a protocol for engagement between talent and clients for work. The mating ritual is governed by interfaces that make it safe, easy, and comfortable to work through the wire.”
The mating ritual, however, grew more complicated as Solvate expanded from Mechanical Turk-like tasks to full creative and professional freelance labor.
But is the company shutting down or pivoting? Even though Solvate did poach at least one high-profile employee after the raise and set up an office in Austin, we’re wondering if the company could have really blown through all that cash so fast. We’ve reached out to Solvate for comment and will update.