Project-based workers are an exploding population: 59 million Americans performed freelance work in 2020, representing 22% year-over-year growth and 36% of the total workforce. Unlike traditional employment, project-based workers can rotate among different employers dozens of times a year.
What hasn’t kept up with this shifting workforce are the “back office” tools that manage their employment. This pain point is especially acute in the entertainment industry, which processes $200 billion in wages and insurance each year¹, and where the vast majority of workers are project-based – the cast, makeup artists, costume designers, hair stylists, camera operators, etc.
Currently, every time a movie or commercial is filmed, each production team member needs to be hired, onboarded, time-tracked, insured, and paid out accurately and efficiently. The current system to do this is an antiquated, paper-based process and can result in expensive errors and delays (which can in turn mean millions lost on a movie set!). Traditional payroll and HR platforms were fundamentally not architected to handle this type of work, and as a result, the way we manage project-based work is broken.
We’ve been excited about the opportunity to serve vertical markets, like entertainment, with purpose-built software and financial services for a long time. Similar to the birth of unicorns and decacorns in other vertical markets like ecommerce (Shopify), restaurants (Toast), and home services (ServiceTitan), with a SaaS + fintech business model, we believe the entertainment industry has the same opportunity.
I first met Ali, the CEO at Wrapbook, almost a year ago, and we immediately connected over our belief that it was time to bring the entertainment industry to the digital age, and that a software + fintech approach would be the crux to make it happen.
Wrapbook is a cloud-based software and fintech platform for employers, workers, and unions to manage financial services for project-based workforces. Starting with the entertainment industry, Wrapbook offers software that provides a significantly better experience for production studios to seamlessly onboard, pay, and insure workers, while also providing an employment profile that cast and crew members can actually take from role to role. This makes the process of hiring and getting a project started seamless, and allows studios to focus on what they love the most – creating content for audiences to enjoy – rather than on the complexities of operations like payroll and insurance. And because the cast and crew naturally jump from project to project (up to 30x a year) given the nature of the business, we have already seen Wrapbook spread organically throughout the entertainment world in a product-led way. In fact, 11% of workers have already reused their profile and have been paid by two or more employers on the platform. Wrapbook is quickly proliferating as an employer of record across the entertainment industry.
Wrapbook’s vision doesn’t end there. By building this dataset on employees and studios, Wrapbook can offer financial services products like workers’ compensation and other production insurance offerings. In addition, employees are mostly hired through word-of-mouth right now. Finding the best employees to fill roles in a systematic way is difficult, and traditional job profiles fail to capture the experience and skill sets of these workforces. Because Wrapbook is gathering the profiles of entertainment workers, it has the opportunity to build a network of project-based workers similar to what Linkedin has done for white collar workers.
Wrapbook is off to an incredible start! It’s one of the fastest growing SaaS + fintech companies we’ve seen in a long time, 7x-ing its revenue year-over-year across TV, film, live events, and commercials. But Wrapbook has only scratched the surface with supporting the entertainment industry, and their SaaS + fintech suite of products can extend to all kinds of project-based work – professional services, service providers, construction, and so much more!
Most importantly, we are consistently impressed with Ali, Cameron, Hesham, and Naysawn, and the Wrapbook team every time we speak with them. The founders have a clear vision for building a company that will serve as the backbone for the project-based workforce of the future, and they have strong conviction on the path to get there. For months we also heard nothing but glowing praise about the Wrapbook team from those who have worked with them. Former colleagues and employers consistently said they were among the sharpest, execution-oriented and hardworking people they’d ever worked with.
Moreover, because the Wrapbook team has prior experience in both the entertainment industry and in software businesses, they are uniquely positioned to understand how to leverage software to address the pain points in the industry. Entertainment icons such as Michael Ovitz and WndrCo, who have personally felt this pain point for decades, agree and are joining us as investors in this round. All of us are thrilled to partner with Ali, Cameron, Hesham, and Naysawn as we lead Wrapbook’s $27 million Series A!
¹Ibis, Motion Picture Association