London-based Passionfruit, not to be confused with Berlin’s Passionfroot, has raised $4.3 million in a seed funding round. The startup caters to Gen Z and helps the stressed, depressed, and exam-obsessed generation transition to the freelance lifestyle, specifically, wait for it, “with an initial focus on marketing specialists.”
According to a release, and right on brand, the capital is slated to “accelerate growth”. Bingo!
Initially targeting $3.6 million, the oversubscribed raise was co-led by firstminute Capital and Playfair, with FJ Labs and Portfolio Ventures participating. Some other players Passionfruit decided to mention in the round include scouts from Atomico, Accel, and Notion, and angel investors including Mandeep Singh (Trouva), Xavier Collins (Turo), and executives from Stripe, Airbnb, and Workday. But whatever.
“Instead of yet another freelancer platform that simply digitises transactions that could and would happen without it, Passionfruit is bringing a completely new workforce to the market. Gen Z will represent 27% of the global workforce by 2025 and it has been so inspiring to see our specialists as they say goodbye to the Victorian-age structure of the 9-5, and begin a new life working on their own terms,” explained co-founder Raffi Salama. “Better still, companies love working with them this way. Smart businesses are realizing that there’s a more elastic and efficient way to manage their relationship with talent.”
According to the startup, its "specialists" work with the portfolio companies of 65 of the world’s top 100 VCs.
On the investment, firstminute Capital’s Adriana Vitagliano commented, “As we look to the coming decades, corporate monogamy will no longer exist in the same way and we're excited to see how the right platform can completely reshape the freelance economy experience. Raffi and Issah are exceptional entrepreneurs - passionate, thoughtful and incisive - and we couldn't imagine a more perfect duo to tackle this challenge. We're confident they're leading the charge by democratising access to flexible autonomy for the next generation, and are thrilled to be partnering with the Passionfruit team on this journey.”