The on-demand, digital economy continues to change the way we shop and interact with just about everyone and everything. You’re probably familiar with buying commodity services like a shared ride, an overnight stay, or getting your lawn mowed through an app on your smartphone. Now it’s professional services that are the next frontier in online marketplaces, and Fishers, Ind.- based ConsulTeams is staking its claim.
Startups and small businesses, in particular, need short-term expert advice in marketing, sales, technology, finance, and other professional disciplines. However, finding the right people with the right experience at the right price, and doing it all fast like startups and small businesses need to do … well, that’s almost impossible.
On the other side of the expert advice transaction, it is often difficult for experts to profit from short-term engagements with startups and small businesses due to back-office overhead, such as contracts, scheduling, billing, etc.
ConsulTeams is a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) company where entrepreneurs and small business owners can find and engage the experts they need quickly, easily, and affordably. The CTX solution, as it’s being called, provides a robust micro-engagement and marketing fulfillment platform for an army of consultants.
The company itself is new — the platform emerges from private beta today and is now available to the public — but the forces behind it have ties back to Indianapolis’ original tech success story of the 1990s, Software Artistry.
ConsulTeams co-founder and CEO Haresh Gangwani was a lead engineer at Software Artistry and a vice president at Aprimo. The startup’s first non-founder funding has come from former Software Artistry executive and Aprimo co-founder Bill Godfrey, through his 4G Ventures angel investment firm. David Cochran, co-founder and COO of ConsulTeams, is a 17-year IT industry veteran including serving as CIO of Indianapolis-based electronic medical records software company InfraWare.
While there are other on-demand type marketplaces and platforms for hiring independent contractors out there — two of the largest are Upwork and freelance.com — the category is relatively young and Haresh points out that there are key differences that set ConsulTeams apart.
“No other company is creating an advisory/mentoring marketplace with vetted experts like we have,” Haresh said. “The experts on our site are vetted, they go through a rigorous screening process, which is different from our so-called competitors because we don’t want it to be a race to the bottom. We don’t want to see who can bid the lowest on a project, rather we want to see which vetted expert or experts match best with the customer’s project.”
What pain points are most prevalent for your customers?
- Hard for businesses to quickly find, qualify and contact experts online.
- Difficult for experts to profit from short term engagements due to back-office overhead (e.g. contacts, scheduling, billing).
- Almost impossible to affordably assemble remote teams of independent consultants for collaborative engagements.
What are the three most important features of ConsulTeams?
- Easy access to affordable help for entrepreneurs and business leaders.
- New opportunity to monetize and profit from short term engagements for experts.
- One-stop shop for managing entire micro-engagement process for both customers and consultants.
How did you come up with the idea for ConsulTeams?
Dave Cochran has both provided and hired consulting services for many years and observed first-hand that the traditional engagement model is too cumbersome and slow for the rapidly growing micro-consulting industry due to the friction of back-office overhead. Business leaders seek answers to complex issues quickly from a very wide variety of disciplines. This unmet need was the genesis for ConsulTeams, our micro-consulting marketplace portal and CTX, our fulfillment platform for end-to-end micro-engagement management.
What on-boarded consultant/experts are saying about ConsulTeams:
“The ConsulTeams platform allows for a whole new level of organization and tracking for consulting ventures. Online invoicing and billing have allowed consultants to do away with a lot of tedious paperwork and the platform has taken the entire administrative process of advising clients (signing clients up, documentation, billing, etc.) to an online format.”
— Ted Baker, Business Coach & Entrepreneur
“Consulteams is a groundbreaking idea for both experts and potential clients. As an expert I am provided with a seamless platform to schedule meetings, create proposals and collect fees. For clients it provides the ease of not having to engage in a long-term agreement which may make getting help cost-prohibitive.”
— Mike Deweese, Sales and Business Development Consultant