Profile: 'Shine' Startup Is Helping Freelancers Get Paid


The field of journalism is an important field in which journalists, ranging from creative strategists to investigative reporters, are constantly working to create content that is accurate and informative for the benefit of the overall public. The industry has become more welcoming to freelancing as the number of freelance journalists has increased due to many news organizations, news/PR agencies, online publications and television and radio stations are hiring more freelancers than full-time staff members, even though it’s common for freelancers to work for different organizations at the same time.

Then again, a freelancer’s life can be a difficult one when it comes to financial matters, as some freelancers are not very well paid for their work and often times paid late or not paid at all. Those kinds of scenarios can be tough for freelancers who live in areas like Silicon Valley or New York City where apartment rent and housing prices are so expensive that even engineers who make six-figures are considered “low-income.”

To help freelancers in their financial matters, French-based startup ‘Shine’ offers payment services that helps freelancers easily generate invoices. Founded in Paris by Raphael Simon and Nicolas Reboud, Shine assists freelancers with their financial and administrative tasks so that the freelancers don’t have to stress out about money and allows them to continue concentrating on their work.

This video from Shine is in French and the title is translated as, “Shine, the co-pilot for freelancers”. The participants in the video are Shine employees, co-founder Nicolas Reboud, Estelle Zeliszewski, Mathilde Callède.

Although Shine’s services are still predominantly in French, the startup has an app where it connects with MasterCard and enhances a simple process where freelancers registered with Shine can set up deadlines, sign contracts, and send smart notifications to other users. Shine acts as a bank for freelancers where it does the majority of the paperwork that ensures that the freelancers will get paid on time, as well as for the other freelancers who either work with them or under their supervision.

As an alternative to traditional bank accounts for freelancers, Shine has already raised €8 million ($9.3 million) in a Series A round with investors such as Daphni, Gilles Samoun, and Ed Zimmermann. It should be noted, however, that in order to register as a freelance company in France, that company needs to register as a “micro-company”, which means Shine would have to report its corporate taxes and sales tax collection in some cases.

Shine’s founders Raphael Simon and Nicolas Reboud founded Shine in April 2017 because Simon had difficulties working as a freelancer in France. Shine first started as a beta in October 2016 and since its official founding in April 2017, it allows individuals to become a freelancer in as short as five minutes while Shine does most of the virtual paperwork for the freelancers and it also reminds the freelancer to save up their income, no matter if they pay their taxes monthly or quarterly.

Before the $9.3 million investment got poured into Shine, it had also raised €2.8 million (over $3 million) from DaphniKima Ventures, and several business angels in a financing round in July 2017. According to an article written in French on Maddyness, Daphni co-founder, Mary Ekeland, stated that Daphni is investing in Shine because the latter company was created to make freelancing as easy as salaried work and that it can transform how business should be conducted in the future.

Currently, there are 10 percent of new freelancers (or ‘micro-entrepreneurs) in France that have their companies registered through Shine, as well as a total of 28,000 freelancers that are still using Shine’s payments and invoicing services. Although some of Shine’s services such as transferring and paying money easily through Eurozone countries are free to use, certain fees are still mandated when using extra services such as paying €1.00 for making card payments whilst working in non-Eurozone countries, paying €0.20 when paying bills in the Eurozone and non-Eurozone countries, and paying an extra €10.00 if there was any irregularity management of the funds was found.

The startup does also do their fair share of assistance when it comes to helping out freelancers who have a lot of questions relating to financial and/or administrative matters. By having a help center available on its website, any current and/or potential freelancers can have an easier time going through freelancing by looking up information about certain quirks of their job so that they can save themselves a lot of time and money from trying to solve their problems on their own.

Co-founder Nicolas Reboud noted that Shine was created to help freelancers tackle the challenges of surviving in France’s “gig economy”, of which 3 million of the country’s freelancers belong in, and that in order to live as a freelancer, one must embrace complexity while dealing with the government. A gig economy is where employees, typically freelancers who are currently not working the regular 9-to-5 job, work in a professional environment that allows them to be flexible, earn additional income, be exposed to a wide variety of jobs that emphasize heavily on their specific skill sets, and allows them to see gig work as a viable career path than traditional work.

Working as a freelancer has its positives and negatives just like any other job around the world, as long as the freelancer is able to navigate through the job well and be willing to ask for assistance whenever there is something that they couldn’t solve on their own. Freelancing helps a lot in different ways, whether if it’s giving experience to young college students who are looking for that first professional working experience before they head into the ‘real world’ or allowing experienced professionals who have day-time jobs to work on side jobs they are passionate about, and Shine has the knowledge and expertise to ensure that freelancers won’t have to worry anymore about the extra paperwork they had to do in the past.