Future Makers 2013
Business: Expert 360
State: New South Wales
When Bridget Loudon worked at global management consulting firm Bain & Company she saw how businesses, big and small, had a hard time finding industry experts and consultants for project work.
She says she saw executives making decisions without engaging the right experts, leading to projects running over budget or time or not delivering the right results.
So she and colleague Emily Yu decided to do something about it and strike out on their own.
In July they launched Expert 360, a business that connects people that need industry expertise with people that want to share it.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a future where anyone, anywhere, who needs industry expertise can connect with someone who wants to share it,” Loudon says.
They’ve gathered over 3000 experts who are respected thought leaders in their fields.
“Usually they’ve got some corporate experience and have gone freelance,” Loudon, who’s Expert 360’s chief executive, says.
She says many of their current experts are focused on retail and consumer manufacturing, with about 50% in Australia, 20% in the US and the rest from around the world.
Their clients so far have included investment firms and top companies on the Australian Securities Exchange. She says revenues have doubled month on month since launching.
Loudon, who was born in Australia but grew up on a sheep farm in Ireland, has had an entrepreneurial streak since a young age.
She says her first business was selling paper baskets from the front of her house.
“It was very cost effective because I just took the paper from my parents’ printer.”
Loudon also had an apparel wholesaling company which she started in her third year at university while studying commerce. She sold it the year she graduated.
She says her ambition for Expert 360 is to build a solid foundation for the business in Australia and then expand overseas.
Loudon’s advice for other young entrepreneurs is to “do something that really scares you every day”.
“Dream big and do it - pick up the phone to that big shot investor, your most admired CEO, convince a celebrity to try your product … I guarantee your business will only be better off for it.”