Creative crowd sourcing company Jade Magnet is pivoting to a managed crowd sourcing model from a contest based crowd sourcing model.

As compared to its previous open model, where anyone could post a project and anyone could participate and contest, the managed crowd sourced model is relatively closed.

Each project is handled by dedicated virtual teams built of members coming together on the platform, the company said.  It was founded in 2009 by Sitashwa Srivastava and Manik Kinra to help businesses crowdsource design projects.

Jade Magnet had entered the Asian markets in September last year through a 60:40 joint venture with Qatar based Mixilion. It had also raised $300,000 in angel funding from a group of local individual investors for Mixilion.Jade magnetIn October 2012, Jademagnet had also launched joint venture in Singapore, id8on which is owned 60:40 by Jade Magnet and unnamed VC firm, which reportedly invested in the JV.

We did a quick Q&A with Manik Kinra, one of the co-founders of the startup to understand the thought that went behind the pivot. Edited Excerpts.Why pivot?

Largely because this enables us to deliver to bigger brands and for longer term engagements better. The contest model is becoming more and more price
driven and unless it is purely driven by technology, its not sustainable.

What are the market forces that forced you to pivot?

Yes and No. Yes because the markets we have been targeting (India, Middle east etc.) are very service oriented and hence requires more effort from delivery perspective.No, because another prime reason for the pivot has been the fact that while we continue to expand geographically, we also wanted to broaden our customer base and cater to larger audience as well.

Open crowdsourced : most of the players who tried this, ended up pivoting (myntra/inkfruit). What are they key challenges?
The biggest is the fact that market expects you to provide service on top of technology. Also the cost of acquisition per customer is fairly high when you compare to the revenue generated per customer which makes the model high on investment.

What’s NextBigWhat for Jade magnet?

We will continue to expand geographically while using managed crowd sourcing expect to deliver to brands as well. Also, we have broadly categorized our services (marketing support, audio video content and community development) in verticals to focus better. The three services cover almost all of the work we were doing earlier but by doing so we are able to reach out better to the customers.

Also, while we understand this will drive away a lot of transactional and  quick turn-around work, we in parallel are working on a crowd driven product  which will enable us to service the SMEs/MSMEs better.