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Kolabtree: The Startup That’s Enabling Businesses To Hire Scientists On Demand

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Kolabtree is an online platform that helps organizations hire freelance scientists and researchers, on demand. Below is our recent interview with Jonathan Hedger, Marketing Director at Kolabtree:

Jonathan Hedger

Q: Jonathan, tell us something more about Kolabtree?

A: Our global pool of 5000+ freelancers offer services like data analysis, literature search, biotech consulting and technical writing, among others. Most of our experts hold PhDs and are from reputed institutions around the world — MIT, Cambridge University and Stanford University, to name a few. Our aim is to help organizations affordably access highly qualified experts for short-term projects. Just like you might hire a freelance designer online, you can now hire a scientist to solve a problem.

Q: How exactly does your platform work?

A: You can post your project for free on the platform, while choosing your budget and deadline. These projects are visible to our freelancers, who then bid on projects relevant to them. You can freely interact with potential candidates through in-platform messages and audio/video calls before hiring a freelancer. Once you hire, you collaborate with the freelancer until the work is complete. You can pay an hourly rate or a fixed fee, and you’re free to increase the budget and scope of the project as you go along. Once you verify that the project is complete, the funds are released to the freelancer.

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Q: Why is there a need for a platform like Kolabtree?

A: Companies worldwide are unable to access the scientific expertise they need because of financial, geographical and administrative barriers. Kolabtree helps organizations tap into a global talent pool, allowing quick and easy access to PhD-level skills at short notice. Currently, there are more PhDs in the world than there are jobs in academia, so the platform also helps PhDs offer their expertise to those who seek it. Many jobs are also becoming interdisciplinary — for example a biotechnologist might have to borrow from data science, or an engineer might need to have technical writing skills. It is unlikely for an organization to have super-specialists in-house, full-time and so there is a need for freelance experts to fill that gap. It is also estimated that by 2020, half of the US will be freelancing, which means that organizations need to start making use of this growing resource pool.

Q: Can you tell us about some projects you’ve helped facilitate?

A: Our projects are typically in the healthcare, biotechnology, food science and data analytics space. For example, a breast cancer surgeon in California was looking for help to design a clinical trial. He hired a statistician from India, who was able to develop a study design for him in 2 weeks. The client was so pleased that he requested for the expert’s continued support during the trial. In another project, the head of a Texas-based company advocating for cannabidiol to be made legal hired a literature search expert for help compiling all the available research that demonstrated the health benefits of CBD oil. This report was then used to influence the Texas Government to make a policy change. We also regularly help facilitate a wide range of food science projects: in one case, a US-based food entrepreneur hired a food scientist from the UK for help making gluten-free bread — they even exchanged loaf samples by post!

Q: How is Kolabtree different from other freelancing platforms?

A: Kolabtree is currently the only marketplace that exclusively offers PhD-level scientific expertise, on demand. Since experts are specialized academics and researchers, clients are extremely unlikely to receive irrelevant bids. Once you post your project on Kolabtree, experts come to you — you don’t have to spend time hunting for suitable freelancers. We want you to save your time and energy! A dedicated project manager invites relevant experts to apply for your project.

Kolabtree also allows you to discuss your project details, scope of work and budget with the freelancer before making a commitment. You can make audio and video calls/interviews on the platform itself, which helps you pick the best candidate for your project.

Kolabtree’s experts are highly specialized within a subject, allowing you to find the right talent for specific requirements that you might not find anywhere else. For example, you can find a biotech researcher with experience in statistics, or a technical writer with a life sciences background — we even have a neuroscientist specializing in visual communication on board!

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Q: What can we expect from Kolabtree in the future?

A: Kolabtree aims to democratize scientific expertise, making it available and affordable to those who need it. We are continuing to invest in our platform to ensure that organizations can make full use of it as a one-stop shop for scientific and specialized expertise. We now have 5000+ experts worldwide and, so far, projects over $2M have been posted on the platform.

The way we work is evolving rapidly. Thanks to the growing gig economy, we can now tap into resources that weren’t easily available before. We hope for Kolabtree to be at the forefront of facilitating easy access to high-quality freelance services, so that businesses can solve challenges quickly, operate efficiently and succeed.

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