Research Outline



To provides an understanding of Toptal's business model and internal operations.

Early Findings

Toptal Business Model

  • Toptal's business model is that of a multi-sided platform relying on network effects to provide value for users of the service.
  • In 2017 Forbes described it as a "freelance engineer marketplace." The company's tagline refers to connecting the world's top talent with the world's top organizations.
  • The value proposition offered to clients is the ability to leverage top tier technically skilled talent on demand. Talent is pre-screened, and there are no recruitment or termination costs.


  • Customers are billed on an hourly, part-, or full-time fixed price rate on a weekly basis. The hourly rates is estimated at $60 to $150 per hour, the part-time rate for a 20-hour week is $1,000 to $2,400, and the full-time hire per week is $2,000 to $4,800.
  • The variances in the estimated price range is attributed to project scope, geography, and freelance experience.
  • Clients make an initial deposit of $500, used as a credit to the first invoice if there is an engagement, and refunded if no freelancers are engaged. Invoices are generated twice a month on Net 10 terms, allowing clients the opportunity to review costs before processing.
  • Payments are accepted from bank wires, ACH, PayPal, and credit cards.


  • David Hersh, Ryan Rockerfeller, Lucas Nealan, David Hirsch, Andreessen Horowitz, Edgar Seah, and Adam D'Angelo are listed by the Craft company database as investors in Toptal.
  • According to Pitchbook, to date Toptal has received $1.4 million in funding.
  • In 2019, the Toptal CEO responded to speculation that investors were not going to own piece of the company. When asked directly if investors currently had equity in the company, the CEO responded no. When asked if he saw them getting equity in the company, the CEO responded by stating that it was a possibility.


  • Pitchbook estimates the total number of employees for Toptal at 3,693.
  • The company website stated that as at March 2020, Toptal has received 750,000 talent applications, up to May 2020 there were 30,000 total talent engagements, talent came from 126 countries, and up to September 2019, there were 10,000 clients served.

Technology Stack

  • Forbes magazine has reported that Toptal built its own customer relationship management, business process management, and enterprise resource planning solutions. This was done to ensure inter-operability and a controlled pacing for growth.
  • StackShare lists 20 applications used by Toptal, including NGINX, Java, Ruby, and CSS 3. The full list can be accessed at this link.
  • Utilities used are Segment, Mixpanel, Optimizely, CrazyEgg, Twilio SendGrid, and Google Analytics.
  • For DevOps the company use GitHub and New Relic, and business tools used are Qualaroo, Intercom, AdRoll, G Suite and Gmail.


  • Gross revenues for 2020 is forecasted at $300 million.
  • By the end of 2020, Toptal is expected to have a total of $1 billion in cumulative gross revenue.

Customer Interaction

  • Toptal begins the client interaction process by requesting information on the talent requirements from the client.
  • A status report is generated from the information provided by the client indicating either that there is talent available immediately, one is being evaluated to match the client requirements, or there is no talent match for the job.
  • Once talent is available, the individual is introduced to the team and is available to begin work immediately.


  • During the initial hour of research, the research team sourced the information requested in the initial request.
  • We propose to continue the research by providing a report on customer reviews for Toptal from review sites G2, Glassdoor, and Trustpilot. We also propose to provide 2-3 case studies from companies that have used the services provided by Toptal. The case studies will be sourced from different industries, to provide an insight into how the company's freelancers have performed for different industries.