Sep 29, 2020

Alone, but Together — We are Collective.

My professional mission has been to help entrepreneurs succeed so they can impact positive change on the world. At AddThis, we helped over 15M businesses market their websites and increase their traffic to reach over 2B people worldwide. As a Partner at Expa and via my personal investments, I’ve had the privilege of partnering with 80+ companies to build, launch, and support category-defining brands across the world. 

In all my business experiences, I’ve learned one thing over and over — managing your finances is hard. Accounting, taxes, banking, compliance and other finance-related tasks take up valuable time that would be better spent building your business. At Expa, we tried to ameliorate that pain for founders with a ‘company-in-a-box’ process. Over the years, however, we started to think that the only way to truly eliminate this pain was to build on this process and create a new platform.

I met Ugur Kaner in 2018. Ugur had experienced the challenge of dealing with these issues firsthand as an immigrant freelancer building his business. Within minutes, we realized we shared the same vision about building a ‘company-in-a-box’ to solve these challenges. Along with Ugur’s friend and serial entrepreneur, Dr. Bugra Akcay, an accomplished technologist and entrepreneur from Turkey, we decided to join forces to work on this new platform at Expa. Expa provided a unique environment for us to experiment, explore, and find the right solution to this incredibly complex problem.

We learned a lot. For designers, marketers, developers and other consultants, their time is literally money. And even worse, they’re figuring it all out alone. The consequences of making a mistake with your finances can be painful. This pain is not just acute at the business level — it’s massive in scale. Nearly 59 million people in the US run businesses-of-one, almost 36% of the US workforce. According to Upwork, this percentage could increase as high as 51% by 2027.  

Today, we’re excited to introduce you to
Collective, the first online, back office platform crafted for businesses-of-one. 

Our brand was inspired by the bespoke freelance collectives emerging around the world. Groups of entrepreneurs are assembling to pool resources so they can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of running their own business, while reaping the benefits of being part of a community. Our vision is to become the first and last collective that businesses-of-one need to join — a trusted partner empowering them with a solution tailored to their unique needs, saving them time and money, while connecting them to a community of other members.

Even better, we have found a way to deliver peace of mind, that pays. By leveraging technology and data to take advantage of the unique tax benefits associated with running a business as an S Corp, we have saved the members in our pilot an average of $16.8K* per year, all while providing them with a real finance team to serve them year round.

We’re also happy to announce the closing of our $8.65M seed round to help us realize this vision. Our round was co-led by General Catalyst Partners and QED, alongside Gradient and Expa. In addition to these world-class institutions, we added a group of amazing builders and creators as investors, including Scott Belsky (Behance), Dylan Field (Figma), Dan Lewis (Convoy), Jared Hecht (Fundera), and Gokul Rajaram (Doordash).

Given my passion for our mission and team, I am transitioning from Partner at Expa to full-time CEO of Collective. I will continue to serve the Expa community as a Venture Partner.  In that capacity, I will advise our portfolio companies and remain an active advisor to the partnership. I’m grateful to the Expa team for their support and look forward to working with them in this new capacity.

If you’re a business-of-one, we’re here to help. Find out how much you can save with Collective, or hit me up @hoomanradfar on Twitter or Instagram to chat more if you want to jam.  

*Based on Collective members with $80K+ income.

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