25. June 2012–
Berlin-based service broker Twago is back from the brink of bankruptcy with the closure of a financing round of about €2.25 million, backed by new investors Euro Serve Media (publishers of Germany's Yellow Pages Gelbe Seiten) and media-for-equity fund German Media Pool.
Twago filed for insolvency earlier this year, with media reports suggesting the company’s troubles may be due to a freeze on the accounts of an investor. The Berlin-Charlottenburg District Court issued a public notice of the insolvency at the end of March.
Now, with new funds in hand, Twago co-founders Gunnar Berning, Maria Lindinger and Thomas Jajeh have formed a new operating company, Team2Venture GmbH, to replace now-dissolved Twago AG. All of Twago's 30 or so employees have kept their jobs. According to Deutsche Startups, previous Twago investors Gerd Jakob, ECM Beteiligungen and Tim-Oliver Barkow are no longer involved with the company.
A spokesperson for Twago confirmed the deal with German Media Pool isn't a cash-for-equity swap - rather, the deal exchanges equity for advertising with German Media Pool's media partners (including a campaign for Twago on leading news channel N24).
Berning, Lindinger and Jajeh co-founded Twago in 2009. The company offers a platform, available in English, Italian, Spanish and German, to outsource projects that require non-location bound skills, such as web programming, graphic design, market research and translation (similar to freelance marketplaces Elance and oDesk). Before the insolvency, the company claimed up to 40 per cent monthly growth.
Not only has Twago secured new financing, but they're determined to continue fast international growth. "We are developing our core markets much faster than any US competitor and want to build on this strong market position," Berning told Deutsche Startups.
It's a testament to the team and Twago's potential that they've managed to secure new investors so quickly - and, perhaps, a sign of investor confidence in the future of new, disruptive online labour marketplaces. More on this later...