Online startup makes waves in professional services market


SkillSetz, a software startup specializing in connecting independent consultants, technology professionals and other service providers with companies looking for help, is making a name for itself in a crowded field.

Think of Amazon and LinkedIn thrown into a blender. SkillSetz is the smoothie you would get.

Matt McCarrick, CEO


“Our goal is $ 100 million of project work in 2022,” says Founder and CEO Matt McCarrick, who founded SkillSetz in 2018 and launched the online marketplace in January 2021. “We’re very ambitious, we let’s not play here.

Matt McCarrick, CEO, SkillSetz: “We make source-to-pay for professional services a true e-commerce experience. “

With just three full-time employees and 22 contractors, SkillSetz, based in Naperville, Ill., Currently has 40 service providers as clients. But many more are in the works – McCarrick predicts the company will have 500-600 by March along with “a few thousand” buyers.

SkillSetz has also attracted investment from a larger company in the same industry, MBO Partners Inc. MBO has not publicly announced how much it has invested in SkillSetz, but an MBO spokesperson said it will soon have more. information about the startup.

Targeting SMEs

With a background in procurement, McCarrick held several leadership roles from 2013 to 2018 at BuyerQuest Holdings Inc., a provider of a procurement technology platform that The ODP Corp. acquired last year. ODP operates a B2B Business Solutions platform for selling office products to businesses of all sizes, and is the parent company of the Office Depot / OfficeMax chain. (ODP announced on Dec. 31 that it had sold its technology services subsidiary CompuCom to a subsidiary of Variant Equity in a transaction valued at up to $ 305 million.) McCarrick says he left BuyerQuest to launch his own consulting firm, JAG Advisory, to generate income and raise funds to found SkillSetz. “I wanted to close what I thought was a huge gap at the time, which was the automation of professional service spending,” he says.

Citing estimates from Dun & Bradstreet First Research, McCarrick sees the market opportunity for SkillSetz as 488,000 small to mid-sized players in technology services, architecture and engineering, consulting, advertising and marketing, human resources and graphic design. Collectively, these companies generate $ 706 billion in annual revenue, according to D&B.

But there is no shortage of platform providers aimed at connecting independent professionals with organizations that might need their services, including Catalant, Upwork, and Fiverr. The problem McCarrick saw with the matchmaking scene for professional service providers was that the offerings “are designed for goods, not services,” he says.

What makes SkillSetz different, according to McCarrick, is that it draws inspiration from the purchasing industry on the one hand and people-focused services like the social network LinkedIn on the other. Most competitors, he adds, aim to serve “less qualified customers rather than more qualified customers.”

Besides a B2B marketplace for service buyers, SkillSetz provides e-commerce showcases for service providers and enables direct communication and collaboration between buyers and sellers. Its system manages workflows and generates work orders, invoices, receipts, automated payments and manages tax and regulatory compliance. SkillSetz’s primary payment processor is e-commerce specialist Stripe Inc.

“We’re making source-to-pay for professional services a true e-commerce experience,” says McCarrick. “Think of Amazon and LinkedIn thrown into a blender. SkillSetz is the smoothie you would get.

Service buyers typically pay fees starting at $ 2,500 per month for a basic account, while SkillSetz cuts supplier payments by 5%.

MBO Partners, based in Ashburn, Va., Works in roughly the same space as SkillSetz, although it is geared more towards helping corporate clients such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, McKinsey, Microsoft and other large companies. find independent contractors. MBO Partners is partnering with SkillSetz “to help MBO expand their market opportunity,” said John Dahlberg, vice president of solution design.

A focus on B2B payments

Several attributes attracted MBO to SkillSetz, including the open architecture and “streamlined approach” of its system, according to Dahlberg, who is now a member of the board of directors of SkillSetz. He also says that MBO appreciated SkillSetz’s “ability to execute development very quickly.” It’s a small, fast team.

According to Dahlberg, another attribute of SkillSetz is its relationship with Stripe, which among other things adds options for international e-commerce. “It’s a crucial relationship that they bring to the table,” he says. “Being able to capture purchasing cash flow is something we’re working on right now. This is where Stripe has some great solutions. We explore the options.

Founded in 1996, MBO Partners claims to have served 60,000 independent professionals and 4,000 businesses. At the end of 2020, MBO acquired MineSumo Inc., a so-called “innovation platform” that allows companies to spread ideas and ideas by posting challenges online. MineSumo claims more than half a million Millennials and Gen Z users.

In an MBO research report released last month on the state of the freelance workforce in the United States, it noted a record 34% increase in the number of people choosing to work independently, to 51, 1 million in 2021 compared to 38.2 million in 2020. Among other trends, the report found over the same period was a 42% increase in the number of “digital nomads” who moved from place to place. to work remotely instead of a single on-site location.

Jim Daly is a Mount Prospect, Illinois-based freelance journalist who covers business and technology.

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