Charlotte Gregson on Comatch's growth in the UK

10 September 2019 Consultancy.uk

Having rapidly become Europe’s go-to platform for independent management consultants and industry experts, Comatch has set its sights on betting big in the globe’s largest freelance hub. In the UK, it has continued to add new talent to its network apace, with national Managing Director Charlotte Gregson revealing to Consultancy.uk that it has doubled in size in less than a year.

Founded in 2014 by former McKinsey consultants Christoph Hardt and Jan Schächtele, Comatch is currently one of Europe’s leading consultant matchmaking companies. The firm’s platform combines innovative technology with stringent vetting to put skilled freelance consultants in contact with companies in need of independent solutions. Originally based in Berlin, the fast-growing firm has since expanded to the Netherlands, Scandinavia, its second largest market of France, a small operation in the Middle East, and the US, taking its global network past the 9,000 mark in the process.

Comatch entered the UK market in the Spring of 2018, and much the same as the meteoric rise it has enjoyed in the US – where the number of members has doubled since its launch – it has been quickly picking up new independents ever since. As the firm continues to establish its presence in the UK market, its consultant pool has grown immensely, with the number of independent consultants in the Comatch network in the UK doubling over the last 10 months.

Speaking to Consultancy.uk, Charlotte Gregson, Managing Director of Comatch UK, said, “We feel an increasing project demand and realise that they want to work with us and rely on us. Despite unusual market operating conditions at the start of the year, and economic and political uncertainty, we have seen a number of repeat projects from our key clients.”

Charlotte Gregson on Comatchs growth in the UK

Primarily, this success is thanks to Comatch’s ability to guarantee clients access to experienced and talented professionals quickly. More than 10% of the management consultants in Comatch’s global network previously worked for one of the traditional top tier consultancies (McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company) and a further 15% worked for one of the international Big Four companies (Deloitte, PwC, EY, KPMG).

As a result, Comatch has in the span of five years managed to create a broad network of hand-picked freelance consultants, successfully completing more than 2,000 projects worldwide and supporting companies of all sizes source talent quickly, even amid a global talent crunch. In the UK, recent projects have included driving global expansion plans for a private equity-backed pharmaceutical business headquartered in the UK, and supporting an international packaging supplier with post-merger integration pricing optimisation initiatives.

Gregson explained, “Increasingly business from corporates to consultancies are recognising the value of a flexible resource model and it is our ambition to be at the forefront of driving that change and be the go to provider of business expertise in the future of work space. But we not only realise from clients an increasing demand, but also on the side of skilled independents. It is continuously growing and getting more and more popular.”

New processes

This success does not mean by any stretch that the company is resting on its laurels, though. Numerous new developments are poised to push Comatch into a new phase of expansion, including a new Consultant Preference Indicator, COPI for short, developed together with Catch Talents. Comatch’s current process to link consultants with clients combines an innovative matching algorithm with the know-how of experienced employees. However, COPI will augment this further with a new algorithm, which matches soft skills to the projects best suited to their criteria.

Explaining the new addition, Managing Director Jan Schächtele said, "In recent years, we have proven how well, quickly and reliably our innovative technology finds the right expertise for our clients. With COPI, we are adding a crucial dimension to the automatic matching process and ensuring that the non-technical strengths and preferences of the consultants are taken into account even better in this step.”

Elsewhere, this has led the firm to being able to open up a line of operation which sees it move into a different ball-game from the pure marketplace for independent consultants. With a burgeoning executive search function, which can help firms find employees for permanent (ComatchPerm) or interim positions and assist independent consultants with transitioning back into permanent roles if they so choose, Comatch has found a way to expand within its own value chain. For all the changes though, Comatch’s success ultimtely boils down to the contentedness of clients.

Managing Director Christoph Hardt concluded, "Our clients are very satisfied with the performance of the consultants we find for them. This is clearly reflected in our recommendation rate of 92%. It pays off that we are very strict in the selection of applicants for our network and only about half of the already highly qualified applicants ultimately join the network. Quality is the decisive success factor.”


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