Why we invested in Arbolus

For too long, expert insights have remained inaccessible to most

As the saying goes, who you know is often what you know, and this couldn’t be more true as we look for answers in a fast-moving and complex world. And yet, the most valuable information we seek, lives in the mind of a few, inaccessible to most.

This is where Arbolus comes in – Arbolus is on a mission to democratise access to expert insights by making human knowledge digital and searchable.

Arbolus is a knowledge platform, helping its data-hungry users, from corporates to my fellow VC investors, in their decision making process. Users can source individuals with the most relevant expertise and manage these insights all in one platform. When we met Arbolus, they were on track to tripling their revenue and adding a fourth location to cater to its expanding global client base. Add to that, a huge market ($2bn in revenue annually!) and the founders’ vision and domain expertise; Arbolus was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.

The winning trifecta – Team, Vision, Product

With 20 years in the field, our meeting with Sam and Will, was our very own expert session on the knowledge management space! They have an intimate understanding of what it takes to become the leader in a market undergoing changing dynamics. They have a clear vision of how Arbolus will make knowledge management more accessible, efficient, and continuously valuable.

Whilst incumbents maintain a closed network by being gatekeepers to experts, Arbolus’ open network is the bridge between the knowledge consumers and providers. The open platform enables the consumers to create their own mini networks where insights can be shared with their broader teams. Data is no longer siloed; it can be searched and expanded as teams continue to build their own expertise. As more and more data is captured over time, Arbolus becomes a key portal for users to learn how topics have evolved.

ArbolusCanopy allows a faster way to capture insights from multiple experts

For too long, industry insights have remained inaccessible to most. However, key decision makers across corporates and SMEs alike could benefit from on-demand external insight but current solutions pose too many barriers.  Arbolus is expanding the customer base by taking a holistic approach to accessibility. Through its transparent pricing and innovative product developments, they can reach an underserved but fruitful market beyond consulting and private equity.

For example, the newly launched ArbolusCanopy, offers a flexible and efficient way to gain insights by allowing users to gather video feedback from multiple experts at once. Information can be gathered in multiple methods and reused, empowering companies to make better decisions more effectively. Arbolus’ product-centric approach to knowledge consumption, allows it to adapt to a broadening user base with changing preferences. What is even more impressive is how Arbolus ensures that human connection remains at the very core of its journey of digitising offline information. After all, at the end of each of the 50+ daily interactions on the platform are two people aiming to get to the bottom of a complex topic, which brings me to the experts — the original influencers.

Selected list of customers already working with Arbolus

Experts, the original influencers

As with any two-sided network, both the supply and demand side needs to be finely balanced. We were impressed by how deeply Sam and Will understood the need to build a platform, not only catered for the knowledge consumers, but also providers. Depending on the nature of the project, experts come in many forms, but they all possess insight which is otherwise unavailable in the public sphere. This makes them incredibly valuable and influential to decision makers. We don’t know what we don’t know, and for Arbolus’ clients, those experts are key in filling this gap. For most, it’s a side-hustle, with Arbolus enabling them to monetise their knowledge in a compliant manner, much like how influencers monetise their content on social media. However, unlike the white glove service offered to incumbent’s clients, the experts are treated with apathy. Arbolus moves away from those purely transactional relationships by providing a platform which enables a sense of community to be built around a shared interest. Relationships are fostered over time allowing users to get the most out of the expert’s wealth of knowledge. Previously, experts would have received one paid consultation for every nine approaches, but with Arbolus, experts receive more follow-up work than any other providers. The deeply engaged user base drives stickiness which has led to impressive y-o-y growth. The power of the Arbolus community, has also enabled the company to continuously attract experts with nearly a third coming through peer referrals. This not only ensures there’s a high-quality expert pool but goes to show the reputation that Arbolus is building in the market.

We have been impressed by what the Arbolus team has built in the last four years and are excited to see what’s to come. If you are an expert eager to share your insights or have a burning question that needs answers, then reach out to Arbolus!

P.S. They are hiring too, in sunny Barcelona and Gurgaon, and not as sunny London and New York!