Can you tell us briefly about your background and how you came to launch NewtonX?
I started my career in investment banking in London, then management consulting in Spain and Latin America. After receiving my MBA from Harvard Business School, I decided to stay in the United States and went to work in Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at McKinsey & Company. That’s where I met Sascha (NewtonX COO and MIT graduate), and together we decided to leave McKinsey to create NewtonX along with Anuja, our CTO and third co-founder. Our vision for NewtonX is to provide direct access to expert knowledge to any professional in the world. Our marketplace and matching algorithm connect clients with leading experts for short, insights-driven dialogues. Our ambition is to help people access knowledge in real-time, short-circuiting the middle-men, enabling the ability to solve business issues better, faster, and cheaper.
What problem are you solving?
All of us professionals frequently make critical business decisions with incomplete, inaccurate information. According to a recent Harvard study, “decisions made while lacking critical information” represent 70-80% of all decisions made by managers of Fortune 1000 companies. But what is interesting is that in most cases, the critical issue a professional is trying to solve has already been solved by somebody else, somewhere else. Which CRM software should I chose for my specific company context? How should I design my team’s compensation package? NewtonX offers an alternative to this inefficient “reinvention of the wheel”. Through our SaaS interface, clients can describe granularly their knowledge need, and in a few clicks get in touch with experts that will share their insights and create instant value for their business.
How big is this market opportunity?
Depending on how you look at the opportunity, the market size ranges from $5B to $500B:
-$5B is the current market size of specialized knowledge brokers (GLG, Coleman etc.).
-$50B is when you start eating into the larger consulting market.
-$500B is the actual value that we can unlock by creating liquidity in the workforce.
The $500B market is actually what we feel passionate about. All three NewtonX founders are big believers in a future state for all companies where talent does not come only from within the organization, but actually from both inside and outside, in a more fluid way. The next generation of the workforce should not be linked to a single employer. Rather, each individual should have domains of expertise decoupled from the organizations, and knowledge liquidity should be facilitated by marketplaces such as NewtonX.
What’s been your biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?
Our biggest challenge has been and still is to satisfy very demanding customers. Our first target customers are the top professional services firms (management consulting firms, banks, hedge funds). These customers do not accept any glitch in a SaaS product, nor in the quality of the services delivered. However, this has been beneficial to the NewtonX team as a whole, as it has made every NewtonXer obsessed with product quality and client service, and feeling responsible for it. Though our ambition is to progressively move away from serving exclusively these top firms to go mass-market, product and service excellence is now part of the NewtonX values.
What’s your most and least favorite part of your job?
Best part is going to work each day with a really talented team. Pulling-up the whiteboard with the full team and together crafting an innovative answer to a problem is an incredibly satisfying exercise. Thankfully I get to collaborate with an incredible group of individuals.
The worst part is not having five more hours each day to spend on product, customers and the team. But we all deal with that constraint.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting a new business?
Appreciate every second of it and enjoy it as much as you can.
What’s the most beneficial part of being within the Grand Central Tech ecosystem?
This crazy tap of cold brew coffee – I was disappointed on the first day thinking I was going for a pint of beer, but it’s great! Seriously though, GCT is probably the most impressive crowd of entrepreneurs I’ve seen, and I’m humbled to be a part of it.
What’s next for you and your company?
NewtonX is already working with a number of the largest management consulting firms and leading financial institutions. We have more than 100 clients and generate close to $1M of annual run-rate revenue.
We are closing our fundraising this month, so I am very excited to get back to building our product full-speed and hiring behind the demand we are seeing.