Sure, it’s good to connect with friends, but Opportunity Network connects companies that belong to accredited organizations with each other for serious deal flow.
This is where firms in the $50M to $1B+ revenue range find opportunities, and trust-worthy, vetted business partners, and here’s how CEO and Founder Brian Pallas (‘14BUS) and the Columbia Startup Lab are connecting all of the dots – and companies – globally.
Tell us about the Opportunity Network.
Opportunity Network provides companies belonging to accredited organizations the ability to share and seek business opportunities from around the world.
Opportunities are received by Opportunity Network, read and approved by our community managers, and posted anonymously. When a member wants to connect with an opportunity, the member sends a request and Opportunity Network provides to introduce the two interested parties.
Members can quickly sort through opportunities of greatest interest to them.
Business deals usually range from international development to partnerships, from financing to mergers & acquisition and relate to any kind of industry across more than 75 countries around the world.
How is Opportunity Network different?
No other site provides access to worldwide companies in an anonymous environment. As a third party provider, Opportunity Network provides a neutral ground, where great companies can safely interact. Members also must belong to an accredited organization, which warrants that they have at least $10 million in revenues.
In addition, other deal sites do not include companies all over the world, and are
primarily focused only on M&A opportunities. Conversely, Opportunity Network is open to any kind of business opportunity, including financing deals and partnerships aimed at finding businesses with complementary resources.
Moreover, since Opportunity Network covers all industries, it creates an environment that leads to more cross-industry opportunities and partnerships.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Our market is open to companies with at least $10 million dollars in revenues seeking to make deals of at least $1 million. Our focus is mainly on family and privately-held enterprises. Right now, there are 13 million businesses worldwide that fit this market and we are trying to attract 500,000 of them over the next 5-6 years.
What sort of traction do you have already?
Currently we have more than 3,000 members in 75 countries. Until now, hundreds of business opportunities have been posted for an overall value of over $10 billion dollars.
We are partnering with 15 top MBA family business clubs (think CBS, HBS, LBS, Insead), and with a wide array of associations (trade associations, chambers of commerce, family office associations) and service providers worldwide.
What is the business model?
Opportunity Network is a subscription-based service. Members pay an yearly fee for unlimited access to the network, including browsing and sharing business opportunities.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within 6 months?
We are launching a completely new website that will host Opportunity Network’s platform and an integrated app and newsletter dedicated to our Members. We plan to significantly grow our users and to reach self-sustainability in the next 12 months.
We are committed to reaching global media visibility and to be well-known around the world, to both our potential Members and also to institutions and the public opinion.
In order to achieve these goals, we are committed to round up a talented team of people and to create a business culture that will attract and retain excellence.
Tell us about your experience with the Columbia Startup Lab thus far and your decision to apply.
The Columbia Startup Lab has been pivotal to our success. It has provided us with access to an incredible group of other start-ups whose collective knowledge and experience is an invaluable resource. In addition, the resources that Columbia University provides, including access to advisors and potential investors, has been vital to and unrivaled for Opportunity Network.
The decision to apply was determined by a combination of previous factors, since it allowed us to stay intimately connected to Columbia’s community, where Opportunity Network started. The Columbia Startup Lab also provides a stable foundation for us, since it allows us to focus on the development of our business, without worrying about the details of maintaining an office space.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
We are well financed, so we are now looking for advisors more than investors.
The right advisors could contribute with their unequaled experiences and connections to bring our business to the next level.
I think that John Mack would be the right person: he has proven to be interested in entrepreneurship and thanks to his experiences as CEO of Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, he could open doors for our business in the realm of service providers.
Most importantly, however, would be his input as role model, since he has demonstrated how to cope in front of difficulties and challenges, like when he refused to sell Morgan Stanley during the crisis, despite high pressure.
Why are you launching your business in New York?
Our business is a global enterprise and we already have employees located all over
the world. New York is home base for multiple reasons. First, it is one of the
centers of worldwide business commerce and finance. Second, our relationship with Columbia has been vital to our endeavor and remaining in proximity to that Network is important to growing our business.
Third, it is of course New York: the city of opportunities by definition.