Hegarty hails ‘magic of data’ in Genie freelance start-up

Sir John Hegarty (Chairman)Sir John Hegarty, the man who once grumbled that “data creates nothing; but creativity has all the time”, appears to have had a Road to Damascus moment after joining a new data-driven, artificial intelligence-based recruitment start-up for freelancers.

Dubbed Genie, the platform claims it will shake up the way top-tier freelance talent is employed across the creative industries by removing the obstacles between freelancers and work, all with the help of artificial intelligence.

In a nutshell, the Genie AI matches hiring companies to top industry talent and handles the entire process through a messaging service, liaising with both parties.

Clients pitch their brief, and Genie’s algorithm matches the best talent to the right projects, while it gathers live data on interest and availability, enabling companies to make a booking in an instant; it even sorts out the paperwork behind the scenes.

Agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Virtue (Vice Media Group) and Droga5, as well as client brands Warner Music Group and Philips have already signed up.

But any freelancers hoping to get a slice of the action may be disappointed as Genie is invite-only. Even so, it claims to feature “best-in-class freelance talent”, from projects like Sainsburys 1914, Adidas – There Will be Haters, and ING – The Next Rembrandt, with an ever-growing “waiting list” to join.

The service is currently offered on a pay-as-you-go basis, and Hegarty will oversee the addition of Genie’s subscription-based platform, launching later this year.

The platform has been co-founded by three former partners at “boutique” headhunting business LIZH, Nicky Badenoch, Nick Grime and Bonnie Harold.

Hegarty, who takes on the role of chairman, said: “Over the last 20 years the creative industries have undergone seismic change. Part of that change is the growth in freelance – allowing companies and individuals to work faster, smarter and more efficiently. Accessing that talent with speed and effectiveness is vital. Genie is the answer. Their technology and years of experience deliver best-in-class creative talent. Serving both creative ambition and business growth.

“The companies, across all industries, that win the future are going to be those that can access the finest talent, faster and more efficiently than their competitors. That’s why I’m delighted to be their chairman.”

Badenoch added: “The creative industry’s most prized commodity is its talent. The chance meetings and the stories which all ladder up to work that delivers fame and moves the cultural conversation forward. At Genie, we have been able to engineer the magic of serendipity, codifying our years of experience into a tech platform with soul. I am hugely excited to have Sir John with us on this journey.”

Last month, a report from Genero revealed that majority of people working in the creative industry would like to freelance or work as a partner in an independent creative business, accelerating a shift to independent, flexible work.

The study followed an analysis of LinkedIn jobs in January, which showed that freelance creative professionals are now in high demand as companies seek to recover from the pandemic. The study of 29 million UK roles placed creatives among the country’s fastest growing jobs.

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