Third Bridge expert network
Third Bridge is one of the largest expert networks globally. Founded in 2007 as Cognolink, it rebranded in 2015 as Third Bridge (the name of one of its business units). It was one of the first firms to successfully reduce GLG’s market dominance. Its founders had a background in consulting with Bain & Company, which was an important early client according to expert sources.
When Third Bridge started out, GLG was dependent on its traditional static network. Experts were recruited proactively, on fairs and from telephone directories. Onboarding an expert was time-consuming and complex. Third Bridge, lacking a database of experts, began recruiting experts directly for live projects. To enable this, they sped up the onboarding of experts with modern tech tools and user-friendly interfaces. This business model’s success was supported by the even faster growth of LinkedIn.
Third Bridge business areas
The company combines a large database with custom recruiting, promoted in two business areas:
- Connections, a standard expert network operation with phone calls, surveys, project recruiting etc.
- Forum, a service of hosted expert calls. Clients either listen in or get the transcripts.
Forum has seen rapid growth since it was created in 2015. Clients pay per-seat subscriptions to access Third Bridge’s growing database of call transcripts. Our expert sources mention that it represents ~25% of Third Bridge’s revenues, and the lions’ share of its net profit. Visit the Forum dashboard here.
Third Bridge historic milestones
- 2007 – founded in London as Cognolink.
- 2010 – acquired the Swedish expert network Epito.
- 2015 – rebranded from Cognolink to Third Bridge.
- 2012 – raised an undisclosed amount from growth capital firm Beringea, for a 13% stake.
- 2017 – the Swedish private equity firm IK Investment Partners acquired Beringea’s stake and substantially more, according to our expert interview sources.
- 2019 – Inex One identified Third Bridge as a global leader in our review of the 2019 expert network market size.