Spanish expert network Arbolus raises $6 million for expansion

20 April 2021 3 min. read

Arbolus – a Barcelona-based tech platform that links businesses with on-demand expertise – has raised $6 million in a seed funding round led by London-based Fuel Ventures and Sillicon Valley financiers Plug and Play Ventures.

The funds are earmarked for global expansion efforts and infrastructure development within Arbolus, which has reported sevenfold year-on-year growth and opened two new offices since launching in 2017. 

Setting the context for the Arbolus proposition are expert networks who bring together droves of experts and independent specialists from around the world to offer expertise on an hourly, on-demand basis. Businesses use the services mostly for strategic ends, while consulting firms use expert networks to deepen their offerings. 

Spanish expert network Arbolus raises $6 million for expansion

Now worth over $1 billion (according to estimates from Inex One), expert networks worldwide have certain drawbacks. This is where Arbolus comes in. “Typical means of engaging with experts through one-hour calls alone is failing to deliver value. These interviews are usually held by a single department and their findings end up lost in PowerPoint presentations or reports,” said Arbolus co-founder Sam Glasswell in a statement. 

Glasswell is an expert in business and finance expert with prior experience as global relationship manager for business development at Genpact. His co-founder Will Leeming is a market intelligence expert with experience at the Economist Intelligence Unit as well as information services firm AlphaSights. 

They launched Arbolus to ensure that valuable expertise doesn’t fall through the cracks. “We are bringing innovation to the ways companies are working with external experts by using groundbreaking technology to, not just build expertise within organizations, but deliver it in ways that are digestible, searchable and, most importantly, usable for the months and years ahead across different departments,” explained Glasswell.

Arbolus also facilitates fee payments for advisors, alongside myriad other tools that improve the advisory process. And many have appreciated the technology. Big Four Accounting and advisory firm KPMG and software company UiPath are among more than 80 clients Arbolus has amassed in three years.

“Arbolus have done amazing things in its first 24 months and it’s a testament to the entrepreneurial ambition of Sam and Will,” said Mark Pearson, managing partner at Fuel Ventures. Exemplifying their shrewd market sense is the London-based pair’s decision to build a presence in Barcelona.

The Spanish allure

Speaking to Tech Crunch, Glaswell noted how the warm Spanish city is a hotspot for young digital talent. “I mean people will move from anywhere in the world to go to Barcelona. We have an awesome office, our own space, a great team. It’s certainly a beautiful city, and it’s probably been one of the biggest success factors for us so far.” 

Spain also appears to be a vibrant market of independent expert networks. Comatch – a global talent pool with around 10,000 independent advisors – landed in Spain in 2018, while another similar network Riverflex launched in Barcelona in 2019. Arbolus will bring value to this vibrant market – now with an additional $6 million to bolster its proposition.

According to Glaswell, being in the EU enables Arbolus to bring a versatile mix of talent and resources to its proposition – combining with its other offices in London and New York.