New Work: Berlin start-up Lano helps companies to cooperate with freelancers
“Covid19 has catapulted us into the year 2030 in terms of remote work” – Customer Success Manager Lara Schmidt aptly describes what many Lano customers are currently experiencing. Founded in Berlin in 2018, the start-up offers companies a digital solution to manage their collaboration with freelancers and service providers from all over the world centrally, quickly and in a legally compliant manner – from commissioning to project management and invoice processing. For many companies this is a great relief – especially in uncertain times, when flexible working conditions are more important than ever. We spoke with Lara and gained interesting insights into the cooperation with established companies.
Lara, how did Lano come about and what exactly is your job as Customer Success Manager?
Our founders, Markus Schünemann and Aurel Albrecht, know from their own professional past what importance external employees have for more and more companies. However, the cooperation was usually anything but optimal. In order to quickly integrate new talent into company processes, manage projects efficiently and transparently, and finally pay contractors smoothly across national borders, technical solutions are usually lacking. With Lano, we have developed a platform that allows companies of all sizes and in all industries to quickly collaborate with the world’s best talents when needed, while keeping administrative costs as low as possible.
In the meantime we have grown strongly, working with freelancers and companies in over 80 countries. I’ve been part of the team since April 2019 and as Customer Success Manager I’m responsible for supporting our corporate customers in the implementation and use of Lano. This means I ensure that our platform is integrated into existing business processes in the best possible way and that our customers achieve their goals.
Due to the current situation, working in the home office has become interesting even for companies that were previously rather skeptical. Covid19 has catapulted us into the year 2030 in terms of remote work. We at Lano profit from this. Many companies have approached us because they have realized that we offer exactly the solutions they need. Many companies increasingly rely on external employees – to remain flexible, but also to get the best possible talent for the job at hand. For freelancers or digital nomads it is of course attractive to be able to work on exciting projects with clients from all over the world. Our goal is to make collaboration as efficient as possible for both sides by automating time-consuming administrative processes such as contract management or invoice processing for our clients to a large extent.
What are the risks for companies that work with freelancers?
In Germany in particular, bogus self-employment is a major issue. Through Lano, we offer companies the opportunity to protect themselves against pseudo self-employment when onboarding freelancers by using automated security checks. Our contracts also offer both parties a plus in security over the complete cycle of the cooperation. All contracts are stored centrally and digitally in Lano and can be retrieved quickly if required. Before contracts expire, our customers are informed in good time. With Lano, many previously manual processes can be automated, which on the one hand eliminates (human) errors and on the other hand saves time and costs.
For example, Simpleshow, a company that produces explanatory videos for major customers worldwide. Simpleshow made a conscious decision to use many freelancers because it allows the company to grow faster without unnecessarily inflating its payroll. Simpleshow works primarily with external authors, illustrators and motion designers, all of whom are centrally managed with Lano. This means that Lano is used for the onboarding of new freelancers, the placing of orders and finally the payment.
How did you start your cooperation?
We have seen that Simpleshow is actively looking for freelancers. For us this is always a good sign that our solution could be interesting. We then approached Simpleshow and talked to those responsible for freelancer management and presented our solutions in a product demo. Simpleshow was immediately impressed with Lano because they had already noticed that with increasing growth, many manual processes cannot be maintained for much longer.
We then looked together at how we could map Simpleshow’s processes in Lano. Immediately after the launch, all freelancers already working with the company were invited to join Lano. The next step was for the participants to get used to the new processes step by step. The cooperation has since been extended to all Simpleshow locations, e.g. in the UK and Asia.
That sounds great! Does that mean you can adapt Lano to the individual needs of your customers?
Exactly, Simpleshow, for example, was all about making project management transparent for everyone involved. Larger projects are broken down into milestones and everyone should be able to track the current progress of the project at all times. We didn’t have such a granular project management solution before and developed it exclusively for Simpleshow. In the meantime, other customers have also given us positive feedback on this new feature.
Lara, thank you very much for the exciting insights! One more question to finish: How do you think our working world will change in five to ten years?
A look at the USA often helps to forecast developments for Europe. There, freelancers are already working on a much larger scale. I think that in five to ten years’ time the openness towards working from any location will be much greater. Companies will realize that they can easily collaborate with the best talent around the world using digital tools like Lano.
LinkedIn: Lara Schmidt
Ambivation connects innovative companies and startups for cooperation and innovation partnerships. As an innovation consultancy and matchmaker, Ambivation promotes cooperation between established companies and startups within the framework of concrete customer, supplier and research partnerships. We support companies in the identification of needs, startup identification, startup evaluation and cooperation initiation with startups. Formats such as research on relevant startups, startup monitoring, strategic cooperation consulting or event formats such as startup tours serve this purpose. Our monthly newsletter also provides information on current examples of cooperation and events.