Expert Networks Continues Meager Growth Led By PE Industry in 2023

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Expert networks, which specialize in connecting users to industry experts, continued to experience moderate growth in 2023, according to a study released by Inex One, an expert network marketplace.  

2023 Expert Network Sizing

Inex One’s 2024 Expert Network Market Sizing study, which includes detailed revenue estimates for many of the industry’s largest expert networks over the last decade, provides an in-depth perspective on the expert network industry, which continues to evidence opportunities for future growth despite a more challenging market environment.

Based on firm-level bottom-up analysis, the new 2024 Expert Network Market Sizing report estimates that aggregate revenues for the industry grew a mere 1% in 2023 to $2.28 billion, representing an 16% compound annual growth rate since 2015, from revenues of $409.3 million in 2012.

However, growth from the 120 expert networks in existence today slowed dramatically in 2023, as estimated revenues received from consulting firms dipped slightly, while revenue from corporates and asset management firms each rose less than 3%.  The bulk of the revenue growth seen from expert networks in 2023 came from PE firms which increase expert network spending by close to 5% due to continued strength in PE activity.

Geographically, expert network revenues in the U.S. and EMEA were posted modest gains in 2023, while revenues in Asia (particularly China) were extremely weak.  This was in response to the Chinese government’s raids on expert network firm Capvision and corporate due diligence provider Mintz Group and the Shanghai office of US consultancy Bain & Company.

Since being founded in 1998, GLG remains the largest player in an increasingly crowded market, but has struggled with growth lately.  Consequently, numerous competitors have entered the marketplace in recent years and have offered unique products while slowly chipping away at GLG’s previously dominant market share.

A key performance indicator for the industry is job postings, which soared during 2021 only to plummet in 2022 and early 2023.  For the past twelve months, job postings for expert networks have stabilized between 250 – 450 open positions – 60% lower than the peak in job postings seen a year ago, though still significantly higher than the job posting level seen during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The study includes bi-weekly recruiting data for fifteen major expert networks.     

The 2024 Expert Network Market Sizing study includes information on key client segments, as expert network revenues have expanded beyond their hedge fund origins. Most of the recent growth is coming from customers other than the buy-side and banks. “Seventy percent of industry revenues are derived from outside the public equity segment,” said study author Max Friberg of Inex One. “Consulting firms are especially important customers for expert networks since they can pass on their expenses to their end clients.”      

The study, which used company filings, interviews with current and former employees and external metrics to estimate company-level revenues, includes analysis of regional revenue splits for the top expert networks, finding that the US remains the largest geographic source of industry revenues. “The US remains the deepest market for expert networks but much of the industry growth is coming from outside the US,” said Mr. Friberg of Inex One.  “Europe and APAC are still earlier in their growth cycles, each about half the current US consumption levels.”

The 2024 Expert Network Market Sizing study includes Excel worksheets detailing revenues for the top 42 expert networks from 2013 through 2023.  Also included are analyses of regional revenues, market share development, productivity benchmarks and customer segment information.  Underlying metrics used to support revenue estimates are also included. To purchase this study go to

Our Take

Despite the continued difficult market environment for expert networks during 2023, the industry continues to eke out modest growth.  A key factor enabling this is the growing range of services beyond the core product of one-on-one expert consultations.  Surveys have become another key source of revenues, and some firms now promote their market research capabilities more heavily than telephone consultations. 

Transcripts of previously conducted expert consultations are also proving a popular new service offering by some expert network firms.  Third Bridge was one of the first to productize a library of transcripts, followed by Guidepoint and others.  In recent years, Tegus has successfully built its business model around transcripts, earning the bulk of its revenues from subscriptions to the transcripts rather than from individual expert consultations. 

In recent years expert networks have also invested heavily in new technologies to improve the timeliness and quality of expert sourcing.  Newer industry entrants such as Prosapient, Techspert.io and NewtonX have touted new technologies, seeking to improve expert sourcing through natural language processing and machine learning.  Established expert networks have followed suit, as exemplified by AlphaSights which centered its rebranding around its proprietary knowledge graph of industry contacts.

Inex One’s 2024 Expert Network Market Sizing study indicates that firms aligned with key industry growth trends like robust private equity deals have fared well despite a more difficult market environment.  Other firms appear to be more vulnerable to the industry slowdown.  The increasing divergence among expert network providers may signal a more challenging period for the industry in the years ahead.   Click here to purchase Inex One’s 2024 Expert Network Market Sizing study.

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About Author

Mike Mayhew is one of the leading experts on the investment research industry. In addition to founding Integrity Research, Mike is on the board of directors of Investorside Research Association, the non-profit trade association for the independent research industry, and a frequent speaker on research industry trends and developments. Mike has over thirty years of research industry experience. Email: Michael.Mayhew@integrity-research.com

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