Business expertise is always in demand but not always available on demand.
Catalant Technologies is a Boston-based startup working to change this fact by pairing thousands of companies with top tier talent to solve issues as they arise.
“We connect expert freelance workers to great opportunities,” co-founder and co-CEO of Catalant Rob Biederman tells Ivy Exec. “We focus on growth and innovation. Companies come to us, needing to solve a problem they have never solved before. Often, they’re looking for ways to remain relevant to new generation of consumers.”
Originally known as HourlyNerd, the company officially rebranded itself as Catalant Technologies in the summer of 2016. Since its launch back in 2013, Catalant has received attention and funding from some serious heavy hitters including famed investor and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, Intuit founder Scott Cook, and GE Ventures. Once called the “Uber for MBAs” by its hometown paper The Boston Globe, Catalant is working to shake up the traditional consulting process.
“The larger consulting firms are so over bundled,” Biederman explains of why he started the company. “So many needs went unaddressed because solutions weren’t customized.”
Biederman, who had previously worked at Goldman Sachs and Bain, knew that there was a vacancy in the market for top-notch, on-demand talent.
“It’s a new generation of freelancing. We offer our experts complete ownership and flexibility of scheduling,” Biederman says.
With 31,000 experts—both individuals and boutique consulting firms—available for hire in its talent pool, Biederman has an army of independent workers available to offer to his clients including heavy hitters like GE and Pfizer. To date, Catalant has staffed experts on thousands of projects and has worked with more than 100 of the Fortune 1000 companies. And their success is more than just a one-off: 75-percent of its clients launch a second project with Catalant within three months.
The process is simple for Catalant’s clients. A company enters its needs and Catalant’s software instantly generates a list of recommended advisors. Experts are also able to review the posted projects and bid on those they are interested in working on.
These experts are the best and brightest of the professional and academic world, spread across 90 countries worldwide. The company can look through the portfolios and work histories of the recommended professionals supplied by Catalant and can even review that person’s ratings from past jobs worked. Then, the company can reach out to these experts directly to discuss the specific project at hand. Once the project is complete, the company can rate their experience with the professional they sourced through Catalant to help other companies evaluate and source future matches.
But how does it work in practice?
Biederman describes a recent client who was a toy manufacturer for nearly four decades, always selling its product through the same channel. But in 2015, the company was in crisis mode after losing its only distribution channel. The toy company bid out to a number of competitor firms but ultimately chose to use Catalant. So Catalant pulled together the right experts for the job, able to pick and choose from its massive pool of freelancers all over the world. Once the dream team was assembled, they were able to work remotely and devise an innovative solution that helped the manufacturer understand the benefits of working in the retail and e-commerce spaces. This Catalant team was ultimately able to lead the manufacturer to create the fastest selling out toy in the history of the industry.
“They took what the company viewed as a crisis and turned it into something very positive,” Biederman says.
But as Biederman sees it, Catalant has the potential to be a major force for change in the way companies do business today—and the chance to empower talented individuals to be their own boss.
“We have an opportunity to change how the world works. We’re fighting the industry’s preference to do things the same way by educating companies on the cost of doing things the same way versus our new way,” Biederman explains.
Looking to the future, Biederman sees the need for evolution in the business world.
“Today’s world was built for full-time employees. What we need to do is help … offer full-time solutions through independent workers,” he says.
To do so, Biederman says Catalant has been most successful by being hands on in the marketplace and by understanding clients’ natural reluctance to change.
“We offer a stronger value proposition,” he says.
Rob Biederman is the co-founder and CEO of Catalant Technologies, the leading technology platform that connects businesses to elite, expert talent on demand. Rob and his team believe that the future of work is one in which work is dynamic, knowledge is available on demand and where people have the flexibility to choose who they want to work for and what they want to work on.
Prior to founding Catalant (formerly HourlyNerd), Biederman was a private equity investor at Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital, where he focused on the healthcare and high-tech industries. Biederman attended Princeton University and graduated from Harvard Business School.