Freelancer marketplace Upwork has hired several new members for its product & experience (PEX) and engineering organizations, in a bid to harness R&D momentum and accelerate development in 2022.

The teams are on course to expand further through the appointment of VPs to lead payments, data science, data analytics engineering, business development, and design, research and writing, said the company.

The current crop of new hires comprises:

David Comer — who spent over a decade at eBay in product management — becomes VP of product, delivery models and platform solutions to oversee product development of the ways to work on Upwork.

Emily McCord — who has held product leadership roles at Medable and Starwood Hotels — is the new VP of product, domains to build and scale Upwork’s Enterprise Suite, payments strategy and products, platform and shared services, and pricing, monetization and market design.

Brandon Savage becomes VP of customer experience and trust & safety, having spent 11 years leading product management, customer support and customer success functions at Box.

Lily Ng, now PEX chief of staff and VP of R&D transformation, is a former chief of staff to the CTO at Dropbox and also worked at Verizon Media.

Vikas Agarwal, who becomes VP of engineering with a focus on enterprise, payments, trust & safety and application platforms, was VP of payments at Bolt and GM for community trust & safety at Amazon.

Irem Metin, the new VP of product with responsibility for Project Catalog among other priorities, held product leadership positions at Shiftgig and TripAdvisor.

Apurva Garware, who assumes the role of VP of product and general manager of Talent Marketplace, has led product management teams focused on building marketplaces at Chegg, Amazon and Microsoft.

Serge Doubinski is tasked with expanding the enterprise, marketplace and talent customer bases as VP of growth, following years in product management at Rakuten.

Fran Murphy becomes VP of community to revamp the platform, events and educational resources, having led similar initiatives for Anaplan.

“These visionary leaders set the pace for Upwork’s momentum throughout 2021 and propelled us from being a single-product line company to a multi-product line company in less than 12 months,” said Sam Bright, chief product & experience officer at Upwork.

“Everything in that body of work was meticulously informed by customer needs, so much so that over 40 percent of all Upwork product releases and tests were directly influenced by feedback from our voice of the customer program.”

Chief technology officer Saty Bahadur added, “Our innovation and product velocity on each of our solutions, delivery models and the platform as a whole have never been more accelerated than where we find ourselves headed into 2022.

“This incredible progress by our retooled engineering and product & experience teams is truly changing the way businesses and independent professionals work together.”

New features introduced in 2021 included Project Catalog, a curated collection of projects by freelancers that clients can browse and easily buy; recruiting solution Talent Scout; improvements to Enterprise Suite offerings; relationship building suite Virtual Talent Bench, more integrated ways for clients and freelancers to collaborate; experimentation with advertising and market design capabilities and advancements to platform fundamentals.

California-based Upwork describes itself as “the world’s largest work marketplace”, as measured by gross services volume. Globally, it competes with freelancer sites such as Freelancer, Fiverr and Dribbble.

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