The recession has fuelled a boom in mobile workers as businesses down-size to consultants and freelancers. So there has clearly been an upsurge in platforms to aggregate that talent in marketplaces. Back in 2009 Daniel Callaghan and Adam Riccoboni created MBA & Company to aggregate all those business school graduates who have no doubt found that it’s easier to consult than it is to fight over the tickle of jobs out there. Think elance for MBAs. Now the startup has secured £800,000 ($1.2 million) in funding, led by MMC Ventures with co-investment from Piton Capital, and existing investor Cabiedes. They’ve also appointed David Kelly, formerly COO of eBay and Lastminute.com, as Chairman; and Aleksi Asikainan, the founder of Madbid.com, as CTO.
The marketplace has ended up attracting over 16,000 brain boxes each with at least five years’ professional experience plus an MBA, MSc or PhD, from more than 100 countries. Clients vary from individual entrepreneurs and start-ups to FTSE 100 or Fortune 500 businesses in 50+ countries and 40+ industries. The projects’ costs range from as little as £100 to £250,000+. Nice work if you can get it.
The site operates in a curated manner which means they can persuasively claim that over 98% of projects get rated as successful by the clients who post the projects.
Callaghan says the low-cost nature and flexibility of the marketplace means small or mid-sized companies “can access the same brain power and market intelligence as the most elite firms worldwide.”
Jon Coker, director of MMC Ventures, says the way companies access and employ talent is changing and “we believe MBA & Company’s focus on high-end consultancy is well positioned to benefit from this trend.”
This is not quite crowdsourcing but it is a form of “collaborative consumption of the workforce” where businesses take what they need and cut the other costs that come with employing high-cost people full time. However, MBA & Company is positioned more as an enabler to the existing management team than a replacement.
MBA & Company is also part of a larger trend – that of European startups moving to London. It was originally a Spanish company because the first investors were all prominent Spanish figures. However, as Busuu found recently, it needed to be in London to raise funding of any significance.