Upwork is an online company that operates an employment marketplace. Through its platform, it enables businesses to hire highly-skilled freelancers from a number of industries. The stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and currently has a market capitalisation of $1.4 billion.
We last covered Upwork in early December when the stock was trading at around $11. At the time, the company had just issued a profit warning and we spotted that a private equity firm (headed up by an Upwork Board member) had just dumped over $7.5 million worth of Upwork stock. We saw this as a bearish signal and said “we think the stock is best avoided right now.” In hindsight, that was the right call, as the stock fell from $11 to just $5 in the following three-and-a-half months – losing over 50% of its value. However, since the beginning of April, the stock has rebounded back up to $12 due to the fact that the company is likely to benefit from the recent carnage in the employment market. Strong first-quarter results on 7 May – in which revenue was up 21% on the same period last year to $83 million – has also boosted sentiment towards the stock.
Source: 2iQ Research
What looks interesting here is that between 8 May and 11 May, Board Member Greg Gretsch purchased Upwork stock four times. In total, the insider purchased 542,996 shares, spending around $5.4 million on stock. The average price he paid per share was just under $10. Gretsch is a founding partner and managing director of Jackson Square Ventures – a venture capital firm that specialises in Series A financings for SaaS and marketplace startups in anti-hype industries. He is therefore likely to have a good understanding of the industry that Upwork operates in. Given the insider’s industry experience, we see his large purchase as a bullish signal.