Have you received an invitation to participate in a paid consulting opportunity with Techspert via an email, phone call or LinkedIn message? Wondering if this is a legitimate opportunity or perhaps a scam? Our Techspert.io review will shed some light on what to expect and how to land high paying hourly consulting projects.
What is Techspert?
Techspert is an expert network – a rapidly growing industry that facilitates primary research into products, companies and markets. Techspert connects investors and management consultants looking to quickly perform in-depth research with experts in the field, such as doctors, scientists or businesspeople.
Like many expert networks, Techspert’s primary product offering is the one hour ‘consulting call’ between the client and the subject matter expert. During these calls, the client will want to rapidly take a deep dive to gain your perspective on how things work, get your opinion on key players, and your thoughts on how trends will play out. Rates for an hour of your time on a techspert.io consulting call generally start at several hundred dollars per hour and soar substantially beyond that for highly accomplished or in-demand experts. The company also facilitates paid surveys.
Based in Cambridge, England by two University of Cambridge alumni, Graham Mills and David Holden-White, both of whom started their careers in life sciences. The firm was originally named Biotechspert, reflecting its focus on biotechnology and healthcare. However, it rebranded itself to Techspert (after calling itself techspert.io for several years) as its industry coverage broadened.
Techspert is one of several emerging expert networks (along with Atheneum, proSapient and NewtonX) that tout their use of artificial intelligence to better identify potential experts and categorize their areas expertise.
In 2021, Techspert announced a $12 million funding round from BGF and Nauta Capital; this follows $6 million in previous venture capital investment. The company claims to have recorded more than 150% annual growth in 2021 and recently opened its first international office, in Texas.
Is Techspert a scam or a legitimate opportunity?
Techspert is not a scam. The seven year old company is a rapidly growing expert network, which connects its clients – typically investors or management consultants – with subject matter experts.
Most commonly, your introduction to techspert.io will be an email or LinkedIn message from an associate, asking you to participate in a highly paid one hour phone call their client. While this opportunity may sound too good to be true (and you should always use caution when responding to strangers on the internet), it may just be your ticket an easy, engaging and lucrative source of secondary income.
Occasionally, you may receive a project invitation that seems wildly off-the-mark, which some have dubbed ‘techspert.io project spam’. The company relies heavily on its AI software to source experts, though it sometimes produces inaccurate results. Some simple fine-tuning to your LinkedIn profile can help reduce project spam and help you get noticed for more high-paying project opportunities with techspert.io and other expert networks.
What to expect if you consult with Techspert
Techspert’s AI software continuously scans a wide range of online data sources to identify potential experts and categorize their expertise. The company claims to have over 200 million experts in its network, though it has likely interacted with just a tiny fraction of a percentage point of them. While it may incorporate data from a large variety of sources, LinkedIn is still probably the most important and likely the venue where an associate will first try to connect with you.
If it looks like you may be a good fit for an active project, the associate invite you to a brief phone call to tell you a bit more about techspert.io and the project they are working on, as well as learn a bit more about your background and qualifications. Keep in mind that the associate generally has very limited knowledge of the topic that the client is researching.
If you’re interested and it looks like you may be a good fit for the client’s requirements, the associate will invite you to fill out a profile and project questionnaire, where you’ll need to provide specific one or two sentence answers about your experience with the research topic of the project. In addition, the associate will ask you to set your hourly rate for the call (more on that in a moment!) and provide a handful of time slots that are convenient for you. It may take you an hour or so to set up a profile and apply for your first project, but from there responding to additional invitations should only take you 5 – 10 minutes.
The associate will present your information, along with other profiles, to the client. They’ll often select a number of people to talk to so that they get different perspectives. If you’re selected, the associate will send you a calendar invite during one of the time slots you’ve provided and it’s off to the races.
If you weren’t selected for the project, don’t worry— now that your profile is in the techspert.io system, you’re more likely to be contacted for future projects. In the meantime, you can increase your chances of being chosen for a project by following these tips.
Techspert participates in several climate initiatives and has a unique policy of among expert networks of planting a tree for every expert engagement arranged.
Setting Your Techspert Hourly Rate
One of the most appealing parts of consulting for Techspert is the high hourly rates that you can charge. You’re providing valuable information that often is a meaningful factor in a multi-million dollar decision, so clients will gladly pay hundreds of dollars (or more) for an hour of your time without blinking an eye.
There are a number of factors that go into the rate that clients are willing to pay to speak with you, but the two key ones are how much of an authority are you on the topic and how many other people could they find with similar expertise. If they are determined to speak with a former senior finance executive of a specific company and you are the only person who fits that criteria, you’ll have significant leverage in setting your rate. However, if there are dozens or hundreds of people with similar expertise to you, the client will usually look to speak with experts with more affordable rates (and the associate will often steer them in that direction).
So, with that, some rules of thumb:
For early career professionals, you’ll generally land the assignment at $100 – $200 per hour; director level or similar professionals can expect $200 – $300; more senior executives often command rates of $350 – $700. Some experts can command fees of $1000 or more an hour, however, those rates are uncommon and are generally only available to elite-level experts, such as Fortune 500 executives, specialized surgeons or former elected officials. It’s not a bad plan to start out at a more moderate rate to build a little bit of a track record, then negotiate a higher rate for further calls.
For paid surveys, you’ll be presented with the fee when you are invited to participate; $40 – $70 is typical for a 10 – 20 minute survey.
How to ace your Techspert consulting call
One of the best part of consulting with Techspert is that your work requirements are extremely concise and compact. You don’t need to do anything to prepare (though infrequently clients will send you something to review and discuss on the call) and once you hang up the phone, your work is done – there is no follow up and no deliverables.
Calls tend to be highly conversational, and about work that you’ve been doing for years and likely know like the back of your hand. What may be droll and mundane for you, such as talking about purchasing decisions or budget allocation, can be thrilling nuggets of information for the client.
You can expect that the client has come prepared with specific questions as a result of their own in-depth research on the topic they’ve contracted you to speak on. Clients use expert networks to rapidly download industry knowledge (via your many years of experience!) in order to confirm or challenge their understanding of a company, industry, or product of interest. Your insights are usually a key component of a strategic or investment decision.
Prior to the call, you will be asked to review techspert.io’s compliance policy and brief compliance training to make sure you understand that no propriety or confidential information can be shared during the call. You’ll often be asked to affirm that you understand the compliance policy at the start of the call as well.
This is for both your protection and the client’s. Though the expert network industry was marred by a major insider trading scandal over a decade ago, it has long since developed stringent compliance policies and procedures. Clients are tightly monitored by their own firms and don’t want to receive non-public information which could prohibit them from making a planned investment or lead to disciplinary action within their firm. If you are unsure if a piece of information is ok to share, simply say so and they will gladly move on to the next question.
Techspert payments are made via ACH via TransferWise. The company has a good online reputation for prompt payments.
You’ll likely start receiving invitations to participate in additional Techspert calls and surveys. Be sure to keep your profile up to date so that your name is at the top of the pile for the most relevant projects.
If you’re not already working with techspert.io and would like to join their expert database, you can register as an expert here.