Matt Barrie to float Freelancer.com in Aussie tech sector push

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Matt Barrie to float Freelancer.com in Aussie tech sector push
Freelancer.com founder Matt Barrie.

Puts his money where his mouth is.

Freelancer.com founder Matt Barrie says he hopes floating the company on the Australian Stock Exchange will help boost Australia’s technology sector, doing for tech what BHP and Rio Tinto have done for the mining sector.

Barrie today confirmed the outsourcing firm, which connects freelancers and businesses from around the world, planned to list on the ASX before the end of the year.

“Over time we’ve had more than one offer at various stages of completeness to sell the company for 100 percent.

“We think the best thing to do is take the company public.”

He said he had chosen the ASX because it was a top five market that had raised more money than the Nasdaq in the last five years.

Listings in the tech sector in recent years have been scant however, with the most recent, by iSelect, seeing the stock plunge on debut, and take further hits after its revenue result missed that forecast in the prospectus. It has since been asked by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to explain the discrepancy.

Barrie brushed aside iSelect’s woes, saying there were others in the tech index doing well.

“Xero is trading at market cap of $2 billion… Seek and Carsales have done fantastically well.

“There’s certainly a smaller number of companies there but I think we need to build it up. I’ve written about this for years, so I’m putting my money where my mouth is,” he said.

Barrie had a very public stoush with the Australian Computer Society in January after arguing it should be disbanded and was doing the IT industry more harm than good.

Today he told iTnews while there was no one solution to the problems facing Australia’s relatively small tech sector, education reform was critical.

“The great thing about the sector is even though the financing or VC market is virtually non-existent, the companies that do get going are forced to be scrappy and bootstrap and be careful in their expenses.”

He said he hoped a byproduct of the Freelancer.com listing would be that other technology companies follow suit.

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