Work Market Expands and Adds Jobs on Long Island
When Jeffrey Leventhal co-founded Work Market in 2010, the longtime entrepreneur wanted to set up and expand his new business in his home state. Thanks in part to a new investment from the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s In-State Private Equity Program, Leventhal is doing just that.
Work Market, an online system for businesses to manage their freelance and contingent labor based in Huntington, N.Y., has about 40 employees and aims to add more in the coming months, Leventhal said.
“We just received our third round of capital which will be used to expand our marketing and sales efforts,” he said. “We’re looking to expand here and overseas. We’re going to be an importer of cash that will end up right here on Long Island.”
Through the In-State Program, the Common Retirement Fund has established long-term partnerships with investment managers who invest in companies across New York State. So far, the CRF has invested $729 million in 282 companies through the program. State Comptroller DiNapoli, as trustee of the pension fund, has committed a total of $1 billion to the program and is looking to add more investments in the coming years.
In addition to providing the CRF with great investment returns, the program aims to help generate jobs and private sector investment in New York. The program has proven to be an important contributor to the State's economy by making capital available to small businesses. Since its inception, the program has helped create more than 3,000 jobs across New York and has achieved returns consistent with the investment objectives of the pension fund’s overall private equity portfolio.
“The program's concept is a simple one: if you're prepared to make a commitment to New York and can state a compelling case for our investment, we'll make a commitment to you and your business,” DiNapoli said.
In May 2013, CRF committed $50 million to a new Softbank fund that invests in startup companies. Work Market received the first $10 million investment from the new fund, with the pension fund’s share about $2.4 million.
Leventhal, 43, says a wide range of businesses could benefit from Work Market’s offerings, from software companies seeking freelance programmers to electronics makers seeking salespeople with specific knowledge of companies and markets. Currently the company has monthly sales totaling around $310,000, but Leventhal expects to eclipse those numbers quickly.
“We really have to start to scale the business and grow it,” Leventhal said. “We’ll be using the investment money to do more hiring, mostly in sales and marketing. We are hoping to bring on 12 people immediately.”
The fact that he’s able to start his new business in the area where he grew up also holds importance to Leventhal, who recently moved back to Long Island from New York City.
“I think Long Island is a great place to live and work,” he said. “It has great schools and a great quality of life. It was definitely important for me to locate the business here.”
If you would like more information about the In-State Private Equity Program, please send an e-mail to: NYSCRFInvestmentproposals@osc.state.ny.us