Note: We have changed the WIP of the Week format. Previously, WIP of the Week briefs were only available to Spend Matters PRO members. Going forward, we will publish WIP of the Week as a snapshot public post accessible to all readers. From time to time, we will select a key WIP to cover in more detail in a brief available only to PRO subscribers.
MBA & Company, based in London and founded in 2009, provides an online marketplace platform that — as perhaps suggested by its name — allows enterprises to engage independent business consultants. The company’s platform and network of consultants is bundled with a set of services — namely account management, final matching of candidates to client requirements and upstream vetting of talent. MBA’s platform and services effectively support a full lifecycle of source-to-pay (S2P) solutions (i.e., from talent sourcing to payment).
The company is one of a growing number of specialized online work intermediation platform businesses offering efficient talent sourcing alternatives to established professional services providers and staffing intermediaries (especially in segments like IT, data science, marketing and creative and business consulting, the specialized focus of MBA). It should be noted, however, that platforms like MBA’s are sometimes used by professional services firms and in some cases staffing intermediaries as a way to source and engage independent (sub)contractors for their own consulting engagements.
Markets & Clients
MBA serves business clients in a number of industry verticals: private equity and professional services firms first and foremost, as well as enterprises in retail, health, and technology industries. MBA has stated that it serves the top 10 global private equity firms on a regular basis, as well as consulting firms (e.g., BCG) and large enterprises (e.g., Pfizer). Today, client spend is spread more or less evenly across three regions — in addition to Western Europe, the U.S. (NYC) and Asia (Singapore) — where the company has established sales offices.
MBA’s talent pool of more than 20,000 independent consultants extends across 130 countries. Types of expertise and levels of experience vary, allowing MBA to deliver the correct expert to meet the specific requirements of each client. Functional expertise is more or less evenly distributed across the categories of finance, strategy, marketing and sales and operations. Consultants set their own day rates, which can range from $500 to $6,000 per day. They can apply for posted projects and are ultimately selected by clients (with the applications typically vetted by MBA staff to a shortlist of three candidates).
Types of engagements can be categorized in a number of ways:
- Fixed budget SOW or billable hours/days
- Performed remotely or on-site
Fixed budget SOW engagements have been most often on-site, have sometimes lasted many months and have sometimes been costed in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Approximately 70% of all engagements (SOW and billable) are performed remotely.
MBA’s monetization model is based on mark-up, with an average mark-up that compares favorably to those of staffing firm but is above the mark-up of a typical pure-marketplace platform. Some large enterprise clients have entered into services agreements for an annual with what, we assume, are discounted mark-ups and perhaps additional services.
MBA has not disclosed spend, revenue or growth numbers. Investor funding information, however, is in the public domain:
- Between launch and mid-2014, Seed and Venture Rounds totaling $3 million
- In September 2015, a Venture Round of $3.2 million
MBA & Company appears to have the confidence of investors and some major enterprises, and that’s about all that remains to be said — at least for this brief account of the business. To learn more about MBA and Company, visit its website.