He Just Sold His Company SkillBridge.co, But Why?

Saalim Chowdry

In Episode #314 Nathan interviews Saalim Chowdhury, a man who’s out to build the future of online talent sourcing. Saalim was CTO at Skillbridge – a premium talent-sourcing company that was acquired last week by Toptal. Listen in to hear Nathan and Saalim talk about why Skillbridge was keen to be acquired, how the human cloud economy works for high-level talent, and why sometimes you just need to keep going.



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Famous 5:

  • Favorite Book? – The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  • What CEO do you follow? — No
  • Favourite online tool? —Thingthing keyboard
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be?— I wish I knew the value of persevering no matter what

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:10 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 01:50 – Welcoming Saalim to the show
  • 02:00 – Skillbridge is an online platform that brings management consultants to people who need them.
  • 02:40 – “How do you make the human cloud economy work for people whose skills can’t be broken down into a 5-star rating?”
  • 03:10 – Skillbridge breaks down what a company needs people to do, and then connects them with the people who have those skills
  • 03:35 – Founded in 2013; went to market in 2014
  • 04:30 – Saalim was the second customer of Skillbridge and found the exact person he needed there
  • 05:50 – Skillbridge’s peak team size was 7 people
  • 06:35 – Makes money from a 20% flat fee charged to the buyer
  • 07:55 – Have been a total of 7.5k people listed; 1k people looking for skills
  • 08:30 – Raised an angel investment round
  • 10:00 – A typical project involve consulting, for example in the equity space – perhaps a week to 2 week project
  • 11:00 – Typical project size is $5k-10k
  • 11:50 – Deliberately high-quality, curated skills service
  • 12:40 – In March 2016 just under $500k of projects placed on the platform
  • 13:55 – Why sell the business?
  • 14:15 – “We could either raise money and play catch-up, or we could sell to these guys and go in together”
  • 15:10 – “Everybody was very happy with the deal”
  • 16:00 – How is a business like Skillbridge valued?
  • 18:02 – “Toptal are essentially building the future of on-demand talent”
  • 18:20 – Connect with Saalim on Linkedin or via email
  • 20:00 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Sometimes it’s best to join the people ahead of you instead of trying to play catch-up
  2. Work through the hard times.
  3. The human cloud economy is complex – the platforms that manage it and connect people need to be able to handle the complexity of people’s skills and histories.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

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