A new business matchmaking company that describes itself as the “first and only” service that uses algorithmic science to match businesses with with advertising, PR, branding and web-development firms launched little over a week ago — and it’s already signed up Verizon, Samsung, and Disney as its first clients.
Think eHarmony for suits.
The traditional system for finding service agencies is to put out request for proposals (RFPs,) receive masses of responses back from agencies, then shortlist a number of those agencies to come in to pitch face-to-face, before picking the final shop. Agency Geek CEO Zach Padres told Business Insider that this method is “just guesswork and inefficiency.”
“The consultant thing, the RFP thing, the RFP databases do not work. So, we set out to develop this magic formula and that’s what we did for the last two years. It was $120,000 and a lot of effort,” Pardes said.
The “magic formula”
The “magic formula” Pardes refers to is a 100-point algorithm created by a team of data scientists, developers, and computer engineers, who worked from a “boiler room” in Manhattan for two years.
“Picture a group of guys in a hot, small confined room with nothing but a whiteboard and a couple of markers writing equations that would probably boggle your mind. I know they boggled mine. That’s how we came to the final algorithm,” he said.
The algorithm is not perfect. Pardes admitted there is an important difference between what an agency will say it is like versus what it actually is like tp work with. Every agency will seek to portray itself in the best possible light. According to Pardes, the importance of this is negated by factoring this bias into “the equation.”
Deeper than the problem of potential dishonesty is the extent to which a successful working relationship can be predicted by any algorithm. There are many intangible factors that determine whether a working relationship will run smoothly.
Padres said he recognised this and responded: “That’s why Agency Geek doesn’t intend to automate everything. We just want to shortlist the best parties to work together and let them communicate on platform and share proposals.”
How the business works
Agencies, and businesses looking for agencies, fill out profiles — as well as answering a 28-question survey on what they are like to work with and what they want from a potential client. Agencies pay for one of three subscription levels (ranging from $150 per month to $600 per month,) while businesses looking for agencies can sign up for free.
In its first week, Agency Geek billed $10,500. This means somewhere between 18 and 70 agencies subscribed, while 750 businesses looking for agencies signed up. It expects this rate to increase rapidly.
Agency Geek must persuade hundreds of agencies and thousands of businesses to sign up for it to become a success. Without a broad enough net, it will be impossible for businesses to find the right clients.
However, Padres is right to be optimistic. If the company does gather enough subscriptions, he thinks Agency Geek will revolutionise how businesses find service clients and put to an end RFPs, known in the industry as “requests for pain.”
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