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Scalability and Freelancing: How to Use Freelancing to Scale your Activity – The example of Agicap

Alexandre Vallin
Alexandre Vallin
General Manager Pentalog Freelances

In hyper-accelerated growth after three successful rounds of fundraising, the scale-up* Agicap needed to build up its internal teams. To meet the needs of their expanding client-base, Agicap decided to work with freelancers.

Their first criterion? “They have to be people we enjoy working with,” replied Benjamin Belloyan, Data Integration Lead at Agicap, who called on Pentalog Freelancers. Within a week of contact, Pentalog Freelancers sent him the profiles of freelancers who had already been evaluated on their technical and collaborative skills.

Since initial contact, this trial was transformed because, with the arrival of two additional freelance developers, the Agicap Data Integration team increased its productivity by a factor of four.

*A scale-up is a startup that has managed growth with an average annualized return of at least 20% over the past three years.

scale up Agicap

Fundraising 2021: Agicap passes the milestone of $500M

Agicap provides automated management software that collects various banking data from companies, who use the data to get detailed reports and real-time monitoring of corporate cashflows.

The software also offers forecast scenarios based on the data collected.
Small-and medium-sized businesses can use it to anticipate market fluctuations more easily.

After an initial round of funding at 2.5 million euros, then a second round at 15 million euros, the scale-up Agicap raised 82 million euros in May 2021, bringing its current value to 410 million euros ($500 million).


Why recruit a freelancer instead of an employee?

Agicap’s ambition is clear: the scale-up wants to become the European leader in cash management for SMEs. After Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands, Agicap has set its sights on 10 more countries – and very quickly.

Agicap knows that scalability is the key to success, and that it needs to expand the team dedicated to data integration.

But searching and selecting profiles for the teams takes a lot of time away from the busy schedule of Benjamin Belloyan, Data Integration Lead at Agicap, who clarifies:

“We are in a hyper-competitive environment where, if you want to stay in the lead, you have to deliver value as quickly as possible. However, each recruitment requires five months on average, even if only because of notice periods. On our timeline, for a startup or scale-up, saving those five months is extremely interesting.”

Faced with this observation, and with the need to integrate other players in their adventure, Agicap decided to find other means to diversify its resources.

Eventually, they opted for freelancing, and turned to Pentalog to handle the request.

“After a week, Alexandre presented several profiles to me. We discussed them – I gave him feedback – and we quickly followed up with these freelancers. It saved me a lot of time.”, said Benjamin Belloyan.


Human fit and craftsmanship required

For Benjamin Belloyan, technical skills are just as important as collaborative skills.

Work with development experts? Certainly – provided they can adapt to the corporate culture, and challenge each other to continuously improve their working methods, and ultimately, the product. That’s craftsmanship.

#Soft skill #1: the human fit

While Agicap is clearly looking for the best developers to help achieve its goals, the scale-up gives just as much weight to the collaborative skills of freelancers.

For Benjamin Belloyan, “They’re working freelance, but they’re also people – with whom we will have a lot of interactions. So our top criterion is to find people with whom we enjoy working.”

#Soft skill #2: craftsmanship

The second quality Agicap is looking for is craftsmanship, which is part of its DNA, as Benjamin Belloyan explains: “I was looking for people who were already operational, but also eager to grow the quality of their work.”

Whether freelance or employee, developers must be sensitive to good development practices. They must also be flexible and assimilate new methodologies in a constantly changing environment.

To meet Agicap’s demand, Pentalog preselects the most relevant profiles from its talent pool. These developers take technical tests to validate both their technical and collaborative skills.

The candidates with the best results are then interviewed individually by Pentalog. The ones who meet the Agicap prerequisites are presented to Benjamin Belloyan, who validates them after a final interview organized by Pentalog.

What conclusion does Benjamin draw from this initial collaboration with freelancers and with Pentalog?

“It went well, because the profiles matched the mindset that we were looking for.”

scale up Agicap fundraising

Accelerating the project with the best freelancers from Pentalog

Agicap multiplies its capacity to deliver by 4

Agicap integrates more than 150 management tools, such as Sellsy or Stripe. The mission of tech freelancers freelances tech is to recover and transform data for centralizing cashflow.

Result: freelancers supported Agicap’s scalability goals by multiplying its capacity to deliver by a factor of four, as Benjamin Belloyan explains: “Today, with internal and external teams, we are able to deliver 5 integrations every 2 weeks, versus 1 before. In terms of our ability to deliver, we carried out a ‘times 4’.”


The key to success? Consider the tech freelancer as a full member of the team

Benjamin Belloyan’s priority is maintaining a close-knit team which works cohesively to advance together in the same direction.

To achieve this goal, the attitude of the company towards freelancers is critical.

His advice?

#Freelancers are team members like any other

“It is essential to not view freelancers as a ‘resource’. If we want everything to go well, we have to help them to become one of us. At Agicap, this involves onboardng so they can get to know us.”

#Take the time to get to know the freelancers

“Taking the time to interact with freelancers is important. When they arrive, we introduce them to the team and the tools they will need every day. We also organize informal meetings to get to know each other better. All of this contributes to the success of the project.”


Without freelancers, startups are depriving themselves of an asset to succeed

For Benjamin Belloyan, the success of a startup is tightly linked to its ability to innovate, and freelancing allows the startup to bring in specialists for the required time.

“Freelancing makes it possible to carry out numerous tests in a minimum of time.
But to be successful, a startup must test a lot, but also fail a lot of tests so they can learn lessons from that.”

Agicap’s future projects?

Through its fundraising campaigns, Agicap intends not only to conquer 10 additional European countries, but also to recruit more than 1,000 staff by 2023 and to sign 10,000 clients by the end of the year.

If you want to strengthen your teams the way Agicap has been doing it, let’s talk.


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