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WorkMarket Acquiring OnForce; Accenture Driving Deal?

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Workmarket CEO Stephen DeWitt
WorkMarket CEO Stephen DeWitt

WorkMarket is acquiring OnForce, according to multiple sources close to the on-demand IT talent platform companies. Some chatter speculates that Accenture is driving the WorkMarket-OnForce business combination, perhaps in a move to roll up the market for freelance IT talent management platforms.

Updated August 9, 9:37 a.m.: A day after our request for comment and breaking coverage, WorkMarket granted an "exclusive" interview to CRN. Shortly thereafter, WorkMarket offered ChannelE2E an interview. We respectfully declined.

WorkMarket and OnForce serve somewhat similar needs but their technology platforms are quite different, ChannelE2E believes.

Venture-backed WorkMarket runs an online talent management system. Stephen DeWitt, a veteran of HP, Cisco and Symantec, has run the company as CEO since 2015.

Leveraging the platform, businesses can create work assignments, hire skilled freelancers, and manage assignments, projects and payments on the system. On-demand workers can also use the system to find freelance gigs -- mostly in the IT market. More than 1,000 companies leverage WorkMarket to manage freelancers and contract workers. Overall, the system manages about 3,500 assignments each day, the company's website says.

OnForce, meanwhile, runs a freelance management system (FMS) that connects contract IT field services professionals to companies that need on-demand help. More than 7,000 companies leverage OnForce's freelance management system, the company's website indicates. Adecco Group has owned OnForce since 2014.

WorkMarket-OnForce Merger Rumor?

Rumors about WorkMarket acquiring OnForce have circulated in recent days. Several sources close to both businesses indicate that a deal is happening. Some sources point to Accenture as a driving force behind the business combination.

Accenture and Foundry Group invested $25 million into WorkMarket in April 2017. The Accenture and Foundry funding was an add-on to WorkMarket’s $20 million Series C round raised in 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

Meanwhile, chatter about the alleged deal has circulated from Silicon Valley and Manhattan out to Huntington, N.Y., where WorkMarket maintains an office a few blocks away from another startup called WorkRails.

M&A Chatter Reaches Co-Founder

James Droskoski
Jeff Leventhal

For those keeping score, WorkRails founder Jeff Leventhal is formerly CEO and founder of both WorkMarket and OnForce. Also, WorkRails Co-founder James Droskoski is a WorkMarket veteran. ChannelE2E reached out to Leventhal for his views on the rumored WorkMaket-OnForce deal.

Leventhal responded via email, stating:

"I have heard the rumors over the past few weeks and they were further confirmed by WorkMarket employees. As a large shareholder and founder I am happy to see two companies I created come together as the future of work evolves and freelance  becomes a permanent and mainstream part of our economy."

Leventhal, like ChannelE2E, also heard chatter about Accenture's potential role in pulling together WorkMarket and OnForce. Asked about that buzz, Leventhal wrote:

"The fact that a firm like Accenture is in the mix leveraging and investing in the technology companies I have built is extremely gratifying. I've made my life's work being at the forefront for the future of work as I continue to innovate with my new business The biggest most interesting markets are housing, food and work. I am proud to have built platforms that have enabled millions of people to work."

Consolidation and Growth

Amid the apparent combination of WorkMarket and OnForce, Leventhal still sees plenty of room to innovate in the talent market. Leventhal, Droskoski and the WorkRails team are focused on professional service transactions -- building on a market thesis they developed over the years together: "We strongly believe that enabling high quality work available in a marketplace format is part of the world's future," Leventhal asserted.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.