Heidrick & Struggles buys freelancer marketplace Business Talent Group

09 April 2021 Consulting.us 3 min. read
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Heidrick & Struggles, a Chicago-based executive search and HR consulting firm, has acquired Business Talent Group (BTG), a Los Angeles-based online marketplace for independent consultants.

Founded in 2007, BTG was one of the first companies on the independent consultant marketplace scene, which now includes players such as Comatch, Catalant, and Talmix. BTG provides on-demand access to professionals for interim roles and project-based work – helping companies address pressing challenges in strategy, ecommerce, and supply chains, among other areas. 

BTG’s marketplace has more than 7,000 professionals who have worked at top consulting firms, and more than 3,000 experienced project and program managers. The company has matched more than 50% of the Fortune 100 with curated and vetted experts.

Heidrick & Struggles’ acquisition of BTG will expand its talent solutions offering with an on-demand marketplace for freelance consultants. The core of the firm’s business since its founding in 1953 has been executive search for interim and permanent roles. Heidrick & Struggles also offers consulting in leadership development and culture shaping.

Heidrick & Struggles buys freelancer marketplace Business Talent Group

"Heidrick & Struggles was a forerunner of the executive search industry when the firm was founded more than 65 years ago,” said Krishnan Rajagopalan, president and CEO. “The seismic changes over the past year have accelerated the future of work and underscored the importance of agile leaders and workforces. We are excited to be the first global leadership advisory firm to enter the on-demand, independent talent space and partner with BTG, a leader and pioneer of the high-end independent talent marketplace."

The advisory firm previously had a two-year exclusive collaboration with BTG before closing the acquisition this month. BTG will continue to be led by cofounders Jody Greenstone Miller and Amelia Tyagi, and will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Heidrick & Struggles.

Pandemic challenges have driven demand for freelance specialists in supply chain, corporate strategy, digital marketing, data analytics, and program and project management. Rival matchmaker Catalant saw record returns in the second half of 2020 on the back of strong demand, and also attracted another $35 million in funding.

Freelance marketplaces overall had a strong second half, with Upwork and Fiverr seeing their earnings beat expectations in late 2020.

“Companies increasingly recognize that they need to tap on-demand, independent talent for essential project-based assignments, a trend which the pandemic has advanced,” Miller said. "Heidrick & Struggles' executive search capabilities combined with our on-demand, independent talent marketplace brings the future of work to companies right now.”

A recent Harvard Business School report found that 90% of corporate leaders think tapping on-demand talent will be key to staying competitive in the future. Leaders are increasingly turning to freelance professionals, with 69% of all requests coming from VPs and above (30% from the C-suite), representing a 67% year-over-year increase.

More consultants are also choosing the independent route, as it offers more flexibility, the ability to select projects, and often higher take-home pay than at big firms.