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Freelancer delivers another record quarter

Freelancer Ltd (ASX: FLN), the world's largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace, posted record cash receipts of $12.8 million for the quarter ended 31 March 2016, up 60% year on year.

This period was the first to have a full quarter contribution from Escrow.com, which was acquired in November 2015.

The first quarter of 2016 saw 626,000 job listings added on Freelancer, compared with 384,000 for the same period last year.

Adding credit, Freelancer's quarterly result was achieved from materially fewer business days in the quarter since Easter fell during Q1 2016. In 2015, Easter was in the second quarter.

The exceptional results were also achieved against the background of a significant appreciation in the Australian Dollar from around US$0.69/AUD to US$0.77/AUD.

In Q1 2016, the company had positive operating cashflow of $1.9 million.

In the full financial year for 2015, positive operating cashflow was $1.5 million.

The improved cashflows have helped Freelancer build a strong balance sheet with $33.1 million cash as on 31 March 2016. Additionally, Escrow.com holds $28.6 million in off-balance sheet trust account cash.

Escrow.com appoints vice president of sales

Escrow.com has appointed Danny Raja as vice president of sales. Raja brings 15 years of experience selling into Fortune 1000 and large companies globally.

To be based in California, Raja will drive Escrow.com's partnerships with leading online marketplaces and eCommerce sites.

1Q 2016 Operational Highlights

Freelancer completed several contests in partnership with NASA related to component, logo and engineering design of NASA projects.

The memberships system was completely overhauled and re-deployed, together with other refinements including the launch of Professional and Premier memberships.

Freelancer integrated payments option into its mobile apps with support added for more markets, including Chinese Yuan.

Additionally, Freelancer added Chinese payment gateways Alipay and UnionPay, and a range of new gateways across Europe and Canada.

Escrow.com released a new mobile responsive and multilingual front end, adding chat technical support with an average response time of 20 seconds for support queries.

Matt Barrie, chief executive for Freelancer, commented:

"Freelancer.com once again achieved brilliant results in Q1 with record receipts from customers.

"This was achieved against the background of an appreciating Australian Dollar and with Easter falling in Q1 this calendar year.

"2016 will also be an exceptional year for Freelancer, with a full year contribution from Escrow.com and accelerating growth across our businesses."

Growth potential

McKinsey Global Institute has estimated that 160 million jobs, or about 11% of the projected 1.46 billion services jobs worldwide, could in theory be carried out remotely using freelancers.

More than 18.5 million registered users have posted over 8.5 million jobs (projects and contests) to date in over 900 areas as diverse as website development, logo design, marketing, copywriting, astrophysics, aerospace engineering and manufacturing.

Broker attention

UBS Investment Bank recently initiated coverage on Freelancer with a Buy Recommendation and $1.85 price target.

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