Thousands of startup experts and consultants have signed up to offer flexibility on the billing or meet entrepreneurs ‘halfway’ in fee negotiations as part of a new online service investment marketplace, The Pitch Portal.
Founder Amanda Fay launched the platform in the thick of last year’s Covid lockdowns, explaining that The Pitch Portal is both a vehicle for consultants to increase the value of their services while also giving businesses the opportunity to work with Australia’s best.
The platform has more than 1000 experts in its community with a ‘Shark Tank’ style approach that allows entrepreneurs to ‘Pitch’ details of their business in a bid to attract interest from consultants wanting to invest with time and skills and had already generated around $1million in service investment value.
“Money should not be a deterrent for business to move forward if the concept is solid. Companies like Canva were once cash-strapped startups, so demanding high fees during the growth stage of business is, to my mind, counter-intuitive,” Fay said.
“If a business is cash-strapped in its early stages, it does not mean their model is a bad one. Consultants with a high price tag are effectively cutting themselves out of the market if they aren’t willing to be flexible. Equally, if a consultant is prepared to throw in their hat and assist a business in its growth phase, they should be able to earn a premium for the risk and share in its success.”
Fay said the skillsets on Pitch Portal range from law to marketing, finance, software development, business strategy, project management, sales and communications. And while it’s geared towards experts assessing the details of opportunities, entrepreneurs can also turn the tables and handpick the specialists they need to build. She said most roles are task-oriented rather than ‘co-founding’, and negotiations range from staggered or milestone payments to profit share, equity and convertible notes.
Building a team
Among those who’ve used the platform is SwapU foundeer Nicholas Robertson, who was needed to take his startup to the next level, and could only afford to offer equity.
“We needed people to come in that would both see what the value was and offer value to the business,” he said.
“When I heard about The Pitch Portal, I knew immediately that they could help us. Within weeks I had met Tony [Dimitriadis] and Geoff [Osborn] and we have been working together ever since. Without Pitch Portal, SwapU would not have progressed to where we are today.”
Dimitriadis, a CPA and director of AD Partners, is working with SwapU as Chief Financial Officer and he believes that collaboration is such a powerful tool in business.
“Sharing ideas and skills in business is exactly what makes business tick and be successful,” he said.
“Every business requires the input of more than just one individual, including the founder, irrespective of industry or type. I often say that the single biggest mistake that many small businesses make is that they try to do everything themselves. The reality is, they can’t.
“I would encourage anyone who has a passion to help business, in whatever capacity, to jump on The Pitch Portal and offer their services.”
Joining Dimitriadis at SwapU is Geoff Osborn, CEO of Geosynergy, as the startup’s CTO. His motivation to be involved was simple.
“I’m often looking to collaborate in projects where our values are aligned, or which have some interesting twist to them,” Osborn said.
“It’s beneficial for my business and our team to gain experience across a broad range of fields and get better at taking ideas to market. The Pitch Portal enables us to branch further across the various startup communities and find people to collaborate with. As Chief Technology Officer for SwapU, I look at SwapU’s ideas, contribute my own and then design general patterns to achieve the features we need. Our team then supplies development capability to create these features.
For Geoff, connecting with SwapU was a logical step for him and GeoSynergy. “I just clicked with Nicholas. I liked his vision, his energy for the business, his ideas and his ethos. You could see many parts of his business were there, he just needed some help piecing them together.
“I could see the business opportunity made sense. The idea of swapping is so broad and seems be to only cursorily addressed by existing marketplace applications. There are many reasons for not wanting to just sell or buy something, and these reasons can be specifically addressed in better ways than is currently done. Swapping can include not just traditional consumer goods, but services, data, experiences, industrial supplies, credits etc. I felt that something that nailed these things wasn’t available or visible.
“GeoSynergy has a background in developing niche scientific and big data applications, and I wanted our team to also gain experience in consumer and marketplace applications, and to see the benefit of our experience in the consumer marketplace.”
Amanda Fay said many opportunities on The Pitch Portal are as sophisticated as SwapU, which creates a solid foundation for negotiations.
“This is not about peddling free services. It is about setting a clear value on an expert’s time and input, and at the same time, showcasing the potential worth of the startup on the precipice of growth and success. Negotiating a payment arrangement should sit somewhere in the middle,” she said
“The Pitch Portal has a dedicated space for business opportunities with some budget to subsidise a time investment, and plans are in place for more paid work opportunities to be introduced in the future.”
More at thepitchportal.com