Remote working means this startup can use brains in emerging markets to disrupt management consultants

The global management consulting industry is worth billions of dollars, but to this day it’s been tough to disrupt with technology. Traditional consulting firms provide high-quality services, but they cost a lot and have rigid terms. And while there are plenty of portals offering low-quality freelance consulting services, these are generally unsupervised and would never work for corporates and the public sector.

Plus, countries like India are famous for offering back-office and research work at scale. A YC company, Apollo Group, is also in this space, roughly speaking.

Intellia is an up and running startup that has raised $1.5 million so far from Fatima Gobi Ventures and angels.

How it works is by engaging remote talent from emerging markets, which can now (because of the acceptance of remote working, post-pandemic) participate in much higher value roles in finance, strategy and public policy.

Launching out of Dubai in 2020, Intellia looks for strategy and finance consultants in emerging markets where wages are cheap, throws in some AI-powered vetting, and comes up with a project delivery platform for finance, strategy and public policy.

It claims its on-demand, remote analysts (from countries such as Colombia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates) can be deployed within 24 hours, and can save companies 80% on recruiting and advisory budgets. It’s now set to launch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Lagos, Nigeria next month.

Intellia founder and CEO Saad Raja told me over email: “From a business model perspective, we are closest to what Turing is for software engineering and Superside is for design — in addition to all remote talent vetted and trained from emerging markets. We are addressing the gap in the market between traditional consulting firms and freelance portals.”

Examples of what Intellia analysts are doing right now include advising multinational companies with product launches, or even new market entry projects for Michelin-star restaurants in Europe.

“We also have a wider purpose: Intellia’s mission is to build frontier markets as knowledge economies with a diverse workforce (half of our analysts are female) — aligned with ESG principles and social responsibility,” says Raja.