Freelancer (ASX:FLN) is now set to support NASA this year in the development of a robotic astronaut as the crowdsourcing recruitment company consolidates a market presence that boasts more than US$2.9 billion in projects posted.
After confirming its partnership with the U.S. space agency in Q3 last year, Freelancer completed its acquisition of leading online payments provider Escrow.com, a company which has managed more than US2.7 billion in secured transactions.
This momentum has translated into impressive traction for Freelancer shares in recent months, with the stock last trading at A$1.63, or about 34% higher than before the company announced plans to work with NASA's Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation.
Freelancer's 2016 plan on the heels of these milestones is to provide recruiting services that will establish a team to design the robotic arm of a next-generation free-flying robot to replace an autonomous device already in use on the International Space Station.
These challenges include designing a smartwatch app interface and 3D models for both a robot astronaut flashlight and a handrail for spacewalk activities.
The extreme technical complexity of this work emphasises the exacting requirements of the team-building process and therefor reflects positively on Freelancer's credentials as a preferred recruitment services provider.
The high profile partnership has already booked more than 1,500 entries from 81 participating countries and more than 100 hits in media including Techcrunch, Forbes, CNN, NBC and Time Magazine.
Outstanding track record
The NASA partnership punctuates a strong growth trajectory for Freelancer, with total registered users of the company's service estimated to exceed 16 million as of the end of calendar 2015.
This caps a 15-year streak of consistent year-on-year growth in total registered users since FY00.
The company's total number of projects and contests posted has likewise increased every year for 15 years, with the latest tally up to 8 million.
This growth rate is underpinned by encouragingly stable macro trends, including the fact that 55% of the global population does not yet use the internet - but will do so imminently.
As people in development countries go online in increasing numbers, their first priority is expected to be the use of the internet to raise their socioeconomic status.
Freelancer services stands to benefit from this trend by offering employment opportunity and income even in countries where the world's leading industries are not physically in operation.
This is expected to be amplified by a revolution in online education via the likes of Coursera, Udacity, Khan Academy and edX.
Freelancer's positive growth metrics and expanding presence in ground-breaking technology sectors suggests a strong 2016 lies ahead for the company as it builds a highly scalable crowdsourcing marketplace targeting a large and inherently global market.
The high-profile nature of the NASA partnership appears likely to translate into further brand recognition for Freelance and subsequently expanded activities, which could result in further price catalysts.
Investor support for the company has been demonstrated by a stellar 159% rise in the stock over the past year and the recent completion of a A$45 million capital raising.
Importantly, the fast-growing company has continued to diversify with the acquisition of Escrow.com, a company which tracked gross payment volumes of US$265 million and net revenue of US$5 million in FY14.
Proactive Investors said in April 2015 that Freelancer was one of its top stock picks for 2015/16 and sees no reason to change that belief as further significant growth in share price is expected.
Proactive Investors is a global leader reporting financial news, media, research and hosts events for listed emerging growth companies and investors across four continents.