ProSapient started in 2018 in London, with an emphasis on building a tech platform and automating internal operations. In early 2023, the company had offices in London, Kyiv, Toronto and Raleigh.
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The history of Prosapient
ProSapient has client-service offices in London, Raleigh and Toronto, and a technical development team in Kyiv. It operated a Barcelona office 2019-2021, before closing it. One co-founder previously worked at Coleman Research. The company has grown with a low-cost offering, selling both expert calls and surveys. It has done four equity funding rounds:
£1.5m in 2023 in an internal bridge round, matched by a £1.5m loan.
Consequently, the funding rounds led to the company having more than 90 shareholders, with some investors working at major prospective client firms.
ProSapient competitors in the European consulting segment include Dialectica, Guidepoint and Atheneum. The firm has opened an office in Raleigh, North Carolina to serve the Americas, but has struggled with high employee churn. In December 2021, much of the management team stepped down, including the CEO, the COO, the Chief People Officer, and the US leader. A new CEO took up the reins in December 2021, but left already in November 2023. One of the two founders also left the firm in late 2022.
Mid-2023, a former Prosapient manager co-founded the expert network ENCO Insights.
The ProSapient expert network is one of the handful of firms outright stating they use AI and machine learning in their work. Much of this technology is common across all larger expert networks. That said, various networks emphasize it more than others in their marketing. These include NewtonX, CleverX, Techspert.io and Atheneum (after its acquisition of Chime Advisors).
The company offers a few different services. It states that "If Bloomberg is a platform that allows you to find and consume data, proSapient is the platform that allows you to create it".
The main services are:
Expert interactions (1-on-1 phone calls, meetings and placements), and an app to chat over
A transcript library (deprioritized since 2021 under new CEO)
An expert network aggregator (deprioritized since 2021 under new CEO)
The two latter ones are reminiscent of the Inex One platform. The main difference is that Prosapient seeks to be both an expert network and an "aggregator". This raises various strategic challenges, e.g.:
Will other expert networks agree to have their data on their competitor's platform?
Will Prosapient resist the temptation to access such data, or give preference to its own expert network services?
Where will the company management focus their attention? Which clients or service lines will be prioritized?
Coleman Research faced a similar strategic challenge in 2019, and ultimately pivoted their offering away from aggregating content from its competitors. Whichever the outcome at Prosapient, we like their ambition to improve the industry with tech.
Expert Management Systems create transparency and efficiency in the industry. Therefore, they are a logical next step in the history of expert networks. In addition, they’re valuable to the users – here’s how a bank saved >40% on expert network costs by using Inex One.
ProSapient was featured in our expert network benchmarking in June-July 2018. We identified ProSapient as a regional challenger in our recurring expert network market sizing. Regional challengers are separated from other smaller expert networks by merit of their growth and/or business model.
Inex One analyzed the machine-driven business model in our AI deepdive from 2019: AI and expert networks. The article discusses the evolution of expert networks and the pros&cons of using machine learning/ statistical models.