27th February 2016

Founder: Rupert Connelly

With his fourth startup, serial entrepreneur Rupert Connelly set out to revolutionise consultancy. DIALaBRAIN now has users in over 80 countries

DIALaBRAIN exists to help people who need expertise

Businesses based in rural locations can often lose out to their urban counterparts, who have far greater and easier access to expert advice. It is this imbalance that DIALaBRAIN is out to recalibrate. Based out of Somerset, DIALaBRAIN exists to “help people who need expertise on whatever it could be”, says Rupert Connelly, DIALaBRAIN’s co-founder.

The problem is two-sided, “It can be very hard for small companies to get expertise at a reasonable cost, wherever you’re based, and likewise as a consultant, it can be difficult to be seen by the right people”, explains Rupert.

The business was set up to help young companies and freelancers alike, and with the current growth rates of the freelance market (which expanded by 45 per cent in the EU last year, and is worth some $715bn in the US), there’s certainly no shortage of potential users.

“When we started we targeted business executives, strategists and accountants”, recounts Rupert. “But now we’re increasingly engaging social media experts, which has helped us to grow as they’re all about self-promotion. We’ve even had one person offering hostage negotiation skills!”

Imagine a TripAdvisor, but for consultancy; instead of holidays, DIALaBRAIN compares consultants. Its online platform schedules meetings, takes payments, sets up video conferencing, issues and settles invoices and collates feedback. In simple terms, it offers a fully integrated back office for the consultant.

“It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can be in Honk Kong, Sri Lanka or Luxembourg and still have the same great experience, a one-on-one meeting”, Rupert continues.

whatever I started, I wanted it to do social good

He started the business with his partners Dan Gardener and Nuwan Connelly in 2013, having left his previous company after a hostile takeover. “I had 10 business ideas”, Rupert explains, “but whatever I started, I wanted it to do social good, have the potential to go global and to create jobs. Those were the three criteria”.

Rupert asserts that their technology can help people to get the support they need, while also having a positive impact on the environment, as it eliminates the need to travel to meetings. And with 2,000 members registered and over 300 visible ‘brains’ on the site, he’s certainly doing his bit to support the jobs market.

DIALaBRAIN is Rupert’s fourth startup, so he’s no stranger to working from home, putting in long hours and – ultimately – perseverance. “The most critical thing is you’re going to have lots of ups and downs – at the start that’s likely to be more downs than ups”, Rupert recalls.

at the end of the day I’m my own boss and I feel good about what I’m doing

“Typically I get up at 4am and will work until 6am, when I try to get an hour’s sleep. I’m then up again at 7am and won’t finish until 8 or 9pm. When you start your own business you have to be determined to succeed…but at the end of the day I’m my own boss and I feel good about what I’m doing.”

Working from home allows Rupert the flexibility to start work early and finish late, making the most of all the available hours in the day. And that’s just as well, as DIALaBRAIN has users in over 80 different countries. Those global ambitions are certainly being realised.

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