Businesses today are grappling with the challenge of harnessing exploding amounts of data, and that requires finding and engaging the right skilled specialists. However, those specialists, or data experts, are hard to find and engage as project consultants. While the demand for these experts is skyrocketing, the supply side is a “long-tail” of dispersed individuals that are not easily identified and engaged.

Enter Experfy, an online staffing platform that recently emerged from the Harvard Innovation Lab, launching commercially in March. While many earlier online freelancer marketplaces tended to offer a very wide range of freelancer categories (ranging from accountants to web developers or writers — with numerous categories in between), Experfy is one of a growing number of newer platforms that are narrowly focused and specialized. Its specialization is data analytics professionals (data experts).

“Large businesses that need data experts can turn to large consulting companies,” says Harpreet Singh, co-founder of Experfy. “But for many businesses, these consulting company services can be cost prohibitive and cumbersome to make use of. Another kind of intermediary is necessary to effectively satisfy the rapidly growing business demand for data experts, and that is what we have set out to do with Experfy.”

For example, to ensure the quality and appropriate classification of the data experts who will be engaged via the platform, data professional candidates must apply and go through a vetting process that validates their background, skills, knowledge, etc. before being accepted onto the platform (in addition to later being tracked and rated by various measures as they work with clients).

Experfy is an online staffing platform that provides a managed marketplace of highly curated talent that would not otherwise be easy to find, match with and engage. Its revenue model is based on a percent markup of the data expert’s rate, but the markup in this model is at least twice the markup of most open online freelance marketplaces (and less than the markup of traditional staffing firms).

The Buzz

New online staffing platforms like Experfy are not only breaking the common multi-category online freelancer marketplace mold with significant specialization, they are also pursuing different platform designs and business models that can do what traditional consulting companies and staffing firms cannot.