I remember the first corporate “match” we ever made.
When we first started our talent management company, Rent-a-Nerd (as we were then
called in 2013) found our first contract in our local burrito spot, Veggie Galaxy. After being
left out to dry by a prior marketing consultant, the owner was desperate to find someone
who wouldn’t leave him out to dry.
So, as a couple of eager business school students itching to promote our fledgling
company, we chomped at the bit. We offered to pair his small business needs with a fellow
HBS student and former McKinsey consultant who would work with him to develop a
marketing strategy. This match could not have come at a better time: the burrito business
was floundering, and our fellow grad student were looking to find their next project.
The owner of the shop immediately said “yes”, we signed a short three-month contract, and
our first partnership was born: the Veggie Galaxy Burrito Marketing Campaign.
The principle behind our company is as simple now as it was back then: help the right,
talented people find the right project for their expertise. Born of humble
burrito-beginnings, we have found that this tenet has really struck a chord with our fellow
This is in no small part due to the changing tides happening within the workforce at large.
As more and more workers demand flexibility, mobility, and control over their work, the
business world has been forced to take note and respond. All of those Fortune 500
companies require leagues of talented individuals to support their organizations, and
hiring managers have found that hiring the right expert for their project means meeting
these freelancers on their own terms.
Recently, business experts from Intuit have stated that 43% of the American workforce will
consist of freelancers or consultants by 2020, up from 34% currently in 2017.
This upward trend in the workforce towards mobility and project-based work means a few
1. Major companies are being forced to reimagine their hiring strategies to avoid an
imminent “talent crisis”, favoring freelancers over full-time employees to
2. The “autonomous individual” is one who puts flexibility, a sense of purpose, and
societal impact up at the top of the list for how they find work.
3. More and more freelancers and consultants will be working remotely,
internationally and for shorter and shorter terms.
The way we see it, this all makes for a very exciting time. We at Catalant see that increasing
mobility in the workforce means greater access within the talent-side to finding and doing
the right projects for their experience and interests. What greater sense of purpose and
control could you have over your work than that?
And we don’t just see big moves towards greater flexibility in the workplace on the horizon:
we also see that the best prepared companies are the ones who use talent-access
platforms to stay ahead.
In the age of teleconferencing and global internet access, there’s no reason why a
freelancer can’t jump in on an as-needed basis. We are now finally beginning to see that
the smartest companies are the ones who are adapting now and adapting early to
capitalize on these changes in the workforce.
As restructuring traditional hiring practices becomes critical for a business’ success, we are
now witnessing the corporate world turn on its head. Not to mention, the global freelancer
market has begun to open up to a degree we’ve never seen before as a result of access
platforms assisting freelancers in finding corporate work.
From our end, it’s a thrill to witness—and assist—the corporate world in embracing what
we at Catalant have known for a long time: the gig economy is here to stay. Best to
embrace your freelancer than to be left behind in the dust.
If our experience in corporate matchmaking has taught us anything, it’s that the freelancing
world will emerge glorious and far ahead of the full time employment model of the past.
The modern-day freelancer has never been more empowered than they are in this
Long gone are the days of paper and pen recruiting and 9-to-5 work.
Long live the freelancer. Long live mobile work.
In flexibility we trust.
Rob Biederman is the co-founder and CEO of Catalant, the leading technology platform delivering elite business talent. Catalant’s innovative human capital solution connects top independent professionals with enterprises to tackle projects flexibly, quickly and efficiently. Catalant has built a global network of nearly 40,000 independent experts, boutique consulting firms, and custom teams as well as best-in-class software tools for engaging and managing this market. Based in Boston, Catalant serves thousands of clients, including Fortune 1000 companies like GE, Hess, and Staples, as well as countless others on a confidential basis.
Prior to founding Catalant, Biederman was a private equity investor at Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital, where he focused on the healthcare and high-tech industries. Biederman attended Princeton University and graduated from Harvard Business School.