Boston-based HourlyNerd, an online marketplace for freelance business talent, has secured $7.8 million in Series B funding. Highland Capital Partners led the round with participation from other investors that included GE Ventures, Greylock Partners and Suffolk Equity Partners.
BOSTON, MA. February 4, 2015 – HourlyNerd, the leading online marketplace for elite freelance business talent, announced today that it has raised $7.8 million in Series B funding, led by Highland Capital Partners, with participation from GE Ventures, Greylock Partners, Intuit founder Scott Cook, the Kraft Group, angel investor Semil Shah, former Etsy CEO Maria Thomas, Rent the Runway Founder/CEO Jennifer Hyman and Boston VC Suffolk Equity Partners. This new round of funding comes just 11 months after HourlyNerd announced its Series A financing round, led by Highland Capital Partners and Greylock Partners, and just 15 months after announcing a seed funding round led by billionaire angel investor, Mark Cuban.
HourlyNerd will use the financing to continue expanding upon its market-leading technology platform.
“This financing serves as further proof that our disruptive model is working – delivering incredible freelance talent directly to businesses in a flexible, unbundled, technology-driven way. I’m particularly excited at the life we can provide for incredibly talented folks who for family or personal reasons prefer to work as independent freelancers,” says co-CEO and co-founder Rob Biederman. “We are increasingly seeing consulting firms both buying and selling projects on our site, as their demand and capacity fluctuate. HourlyNerd is becoming the global spot market for business talent,” he added.
“This signifies a material milestone for HourlyNerd. Serious investments into our product are now paying off as we have a leading marketplace with incredible automation that relies on data from thousands of projects. We’re thrilled to take this next step as we work to provide an experience for enterprises that is just as exceptional as what we’re now offering SMBs,” added co-CEO and co-founder Pat Petitti.
“Over the past year we’ve been overwhelmed by demand from enterprises under-served by existing options for flexible, elite business expertise. Gone are the days of having to choose between the excessively bundled incumbent players and nothing; chances are very good that HourlyNerd has just the right expert in our network of nearly 10,000. We’re thrilled to be partnering with world-class venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and one of the world’s most respected enterprises in our next phase of growth,” added co-founder and CFO Peter Maglathlin.
Founded two years ago in a Harvard Business School Field III Course classroom, the founders came up with “HourlyNerd”, the idea of linking small businesses, with MBA students and business school graduates. HourlyNerd placed 2nd of 150 companies in the HBS “IPO Day” competition in May 2013.
In just two short years, HourlyNerd has grown to accommodate more than 4,500 companies, using over 10,000 consultants from top consulting firms investment banks and business schools around the world, including Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Columbia, Tuck and Kellogg. By pairing businesses with premier quality professionals, at reasonable rates, and on an “as needed” basis, HourlyNerd is able to serve the entire spectrum of American commerce. HourlyNerd’s clientele ranges from Main Street businesses to the strategy groups of Fortune 10 companies, including GE, Microsoft, American Apparel and Omaha Steaks.
“In a very short period of time the team has made amazing progress on all fronts: customers, product, revenue and team,” said Dan Nova, General Partner with Highland Capital Partners. “These advances further validate our belief that the massive consulting industry is ripe for disruption, and we are incredibly excited to partner with the team making it happen.”
GE Ventures CEO, Sue Siegel added, “HourlyNerd provides on-demand access to top-quality talent. Having worked with the HourlyNerd community over the past year, GE is excited to invest and support the growth of the company.”
“I’ve used HourlyNerd myself and can attest to the exceptional quality and value on the platform. Small and medium businesses across America are now able to access top quality consultants that major enterprises rely on, and at incredibly fair prices,” said Scott Cook, founder of Intuit.
“Hourly Nerd is expanding the addressable market for consulting services in the US by creating new customers (startups and small businesses) that couldn’t afford the McKinsey’s of the world. At the same time, they’re redefining supply: a more flexible army of consultants who can work when they want on what they want. I wanted to invest as I see the model having many similarities to Rent the Runway: HourlyNerd is democratizing a critical industry with lots of unmet demand, leading to massive value creation for customers and suppliers,” added Jenn Hyman, co-founder of Rent the Runway.
“I used HourlyNerd a few years ago for a few projects and remember the initial feeling of realizing that research requests could be at my fingertips for a fair price. I kept in touch with the founders and they’ve quietly been growing. I’m excited by the opportunity to build a marketplace for knowledge work that higher quality, more cost efficient, and powerful to use. I expect many consulting firms, investment groups, and other similar companies to rethink in-house analyst programs in favor of a product like HourlyNerd,” added renowned angel investor Semil Shah.
“I am thrilled to invest in HourlyNerd because there is a large untapped opportunity to disrupt big, traditional consulting companies whose highly opaque businesses often rely on price as a proxy for quality. Just as Etsy helped democratize the buying and selling of handmade items, Hourly Nerd has an opportunity to help democratize consulting services, especially for small-and-medium sized enterprises,” added Maria Thomas, former CEO of Etsy.
HourlyNerd, a start-up with origins in a Harvard Business School (HBS) classroom, is an online talent marketplace that links elite independent freelance talent with businesses that lack the funds to hire a premier consulting firm but require freelance help or advice from top MBA students who’ve worked at the top consulting firms and investment banks. In just a few months (via referrals, social network mentions and word of mouth), there are already over 4,500 companies using over 10,000 HourlyNerd consultants from around the country and around the world. More information is at www.hourlynerd.com