Expert360 co-founder Bridget Loudon. Image: supplied.

Aussie startup Expert360 is disrupting the $350bn global management consultancy industry

Aja Stuart

Bridget Loudon and Emily Yue are making waves in the international management consultancy community. In an industry that’s traditionally rigid and costly to access, Loudon and Yue are using technology to forge a flexible and accessible alternative.

Inspired by their time at Bain & Company, it was the desire to see the potential of management consulting available to businesses of all sizes that motivated them to start Expert360.

Expert360 was designed to open up top-tier consultancy that had previously only been available to large firms and enterprise organisations. Using the flexibility of a project-based approach, any business, from startups to global firms, is able to enlist high profile consultants through the platform at an accessible price point.

“Essentially, we took the best of consulting (the people), stripped away the overhead and inefficiencies and put it on a digital platform to allow clients and consultants to come together in a flexible way to deliver great work (on-site and remotely),” Loudon says.

She makes it all seem so obvious and simple that it’s easy to forget exactly what they’re accomplishing. “We’re disrupting a hundred-plus-year-old traditional professional services industry that’s worth three hundred and fifty billion dollars globally and accelerating the growth of Talent-as-a-Service (TaaS) around the world,” she says.

The recent growth we’ve experienced has primarily been driven by corporate and enterprise businesses, where the need for on-demand talent is growing faster than ever.

Loudon and Yue started Expert360 in 2013, and it’s grown phenomenally since then. This is in large part due to the quality of talent they’ve  managed to attract to their platform.

The recent growth we’ve experienced has primarily been driven by corporate and enterprise businesses, where the need for on-demand talent is growing faster than ever,” says Loudon.

“Talent is the largest cost base for most businesses. So when businesses use cloud-based technology to connect with talent on demand, when and where they need it, the result is greater efficiency, scalability and productivity.

“Now, we have CEOs and directors coming to us with us on top of their agenda, saying ‘Expert360 is really the only platform that’s way out ahead of any other real option’.”

“On the other side, more business professionals now also see independent or freelance work as an attractive and viable option,” Loudon says. “This trend has been driven by the adoption of collaborative tools, an increase in remote work and desire for greater work life balance. Now, 30 per cent of Australians are undertaking some form of flexible freelance work and this trend is not going away anytime soon.

“A recent survey by Eden McCallum even found that nine out of ten independent consultants are satisfied working in the way they do and the value for money they provide for clients is higher now than when they were in a traditional firm,” she says.

“Plus, more than half expect to continue working as an independent for more than the next three years. That tells us it’s a career choice rather than a transitional move.”

We bring businesses what they really want – highest quality talent, flexibility in how they engage them, and at a price that delivers great value.

Teaching a creaky old industry how to be flexible is built into the DNA of Expert360, and Loudon emphasises their love of flexibility and “enabling greater agility within businesses of different sizes and across a wide variety of industries”.

“We bring businesses what they really want – highest quality talent, flexibility in how they engage them, and at a price that delivers great value,” she says.

You know you’re on to a great idea when you raise eight million from high profile investors, an investment that has allowed Expert360 to grow rapidly.

The support we’ve been fortunate enough to receive has enabled us to grow quickly,” Loudon says. “This year, [we] moved into a new office, tripled the size of our team and quadrupled the size of our business from a project volume perspective.

“We’ve gone from five thousand consultants to more than eleven thousand. We’ve repatriated two high-profile Australian executives back from Silicon Valley, to come and lead our product and partnerships.”

Such phenomenal growth has enabled Expert360 to expand its operations so quickly that the business has recently opened an office in New York. “We’ve always had a global mindset from day one and the US is obviously an exciting and large market for the Expert360 marketplace,” Loudon says.

“Asia-Pacific is our core region but we’re testing in others and New York is one of the places where we have lots of consultants, and so are testing the waters.”

While their overseas markets are opening up to them, Loudon and Yue want to keep their roots firmly planted in Australia. “We’ve built our business so that we can be agile, to test new markets very, very quickly, which is what we’re doing right now,” Loudon says. “We’re still, however, primarily focused on our Australian business. We’ve got a booming business here and a huge amount of room to grow.”

“Australia is usually the second market for any marketplace business close to the US, so we need to be here. Once we’re expanding our horizons, we want our global business to be headquartered in Australia.”

Aja Stuart

Aja is Sydney-based writer and serial entrepreneur. She regularly writes about small business, entrepreneurship, and health and wellbeing. Her latest entrepreneurial adventure is yeahmama.co.

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