HourlyNerd Wants to Connect SMBs with MBAs

Small Business Spotlight: HourlyNerd, @hourlynerd

Who: Rob Biederman

What: HourlyNerd

When: 2013

Where: Boston, Massachusetts

How: Co-founder Rob Biederman says the idea for HourlyNerd came from a school project at Harvard Business School. “It was founded as part of a class … There were 150 teams of six students, and early on we demonstrated more demand than we expected, so we decided to pursue it as a full-time job,” says Biederman.

He says the startup aims to provide top-quality consulting help to small- and medium-sized businesses. MBAs from the top 20 business schools are paid hourly to consult on business plans, marketing materials and financing decisions.

Biederman says the typical fee is $35 to $70 an hour, with the average project costing between $1,000 and $2,500.

Biggest challenge: Biederman says the startup received $5,000 in funding from Harvard, spending nearly $1,000 on website design using the online service Odesk. “The website was a complete disaster: so difficult to use and bug-ridden,” says Biederman.

One moment in time: Biederman says he’s proud of the fact that HourlyNerd can help SMBs grow in ways that they wouldn’t typically imagine without outside consultation.

Best business advice: “To succeed a business has to be relevant, credible and differentiated,” says Biederman.