Bring Ideas to Life
“Our company loves the whiteboard exercise. We typically get the full group together, from co-CEOs through sales interns, and try to solve a specific question within 30 minutes. The discussion ordinarily begins with freeform idea generation, but by the end, translates to tactical priorities and agenda-setting. Recent topics have included “What is the HourlyNerd brand — and how can we shape it?” and “How should we market to small businesses?”” – Rob Biederman
Know Your Customers
“We’ve stayed very close to the customer. We know most by name and actively work to collect feedback on how we can improve. While we have resources that can help us, the co-founders are the ones that answer the phone calls and help customers understand how they can use HourlyNerd. Having this framework has helped us understand how best to set the foundation for future growth – and how to create a platform people will hopefully come back to many times.” – Joe Miller
Address Needs in the Marketplace
“We have an incredible opportunity at hand – we’re well-positioned to help businesses around the world in a way that technology has only recently made possible. At the same time, we’re uniquely situated to provide MBA students and alumni with a level of flexibility they’ve never had. Starting a family, building a company, or touring the world doesn’t need to get in the way of employment – on HourlyNerd you can live your life and work when you want to.” – Pat Petitti
Harvard Business School students Rob Biederman, Pat Petitti, Joe Miller and Peter Maglathlin launched HourlyNerd as a school project with the purpose of connecting MBA students as hourly consultants to small and medium-sized businesses. In July 2016, the company rebranded as Catalant. The new name – a combination of catalyst, brilliant and talent – reflects the company’s leading role in how enterprises access top talent.
Through an online marketplace, Catalant connects companies with MBA students and graduates, alumni of consulting firms like McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, looking for part time consulting projects. The marketplace allows businesses to posts tasks and review bids from consultants to find one that most closely matches their needs. Consultants charge low hourly rates from $25 to $150 depending on their level of expertise. Catalant takes a small percentage of each transaction as their fee.
In June 2013, seeking cash to make a payment to its development firm, Catalant’s co-founders took a chance by sending an email to billionaire investor Mark Cuban, asking him for money. To their surprise, Mark responded within 15 minutes and ultimately offered them $450,000 in seed funding. Along with Mark, investors Accanto Partners and Connect Ventures committed seed money, bringing Catalant’s total seed financing to $750,000 by September 2013.
With the initial financing, Catalant bolstered its technology and sought new partnerships with larger companies looking to business consultants for specific projects, including Microsoft, General Electric Co., American Apparel Inc. and Coca-Cola Co.
Less than a year later, in March 2014, Catalant raised a Series A round from Highland Capital and Greylock Partners. They continue to land partnerships with large companies and evaluate M&A opportunities. Today, Catalant’s platform-as-a-service solution allows global organizations, such as GE and Pfizer, to centralize the process of sourcing independent talent by giving business leaders direct and immediate access to Catalant’s network of more than 27,000 experts.