NEWS8 April 2011
NEWS8 April 2011
SWEDEN— If knowledge is power, why are people so willing to share it for free online through Q&A services like Linkedin and Quora? Mancx, a Swedish startup, believes in the value of information and has created a transactional knowledge market where people can trade what they know for a price.
Co-founder and chief marketing officer Mattias Guilotte says the service will prove especially useful for small business owners, independents and freelancers who don’t enjoy the same support structures in research and marketing that larger organisations do.
Users might be salesmen or sourcing professionals looking for market information, sales leads or supplier recommendations. He gives the example of one request, recently fulfilled through the service, where a Stockholm branding agency was seeking information on the liqueur market in China.
But there’s value there for big companies, too, Guilotte believes. Consultancy firms – a McKinsey or a Gartner, say – rely on expert input for their reports and recommendations, and Mancx might prove to be an easier way for them to connect with such people.
Co-founder and CEO Henrik Dillman says: “Finding specific information which might not be known by your own personal network is both difficult and time-consuming, especially if you are looking for knowledge in ‘the long tail’ where only a limited number of people know the answers.
“You cannot expect busy individuals and professionals to spend hours researching and answering other people’s business-related questions without reward.”
Information can be traded on Mancx for as little as $10 all the way up to $10,000, with Mancx itself taking a 20% commission on every concluded transaction.
Buyers and suppliers get to meet in a virtual negotiation room to discuss arrangements prior to making a deal. Anonymity on either side is permitted, but all users are verified by Mancx to ensure they are who they say they are and to facilitate a mechanism for complaints and redress.
While anonymity might be necessary for companies who don’t want to tip their competitors off about the information they are buying, suppliers are likely to benefit more from being upfront about their identity, linking in to their Linkedin profiles to demonstrate their credentials and building up a history of positive feedback akin to eBay’s seller ratings.
Mancx has $300,000 in angel investment behind it and says it is in the process of negotiating a second round of funding.