Consulting startups Expert360 and Escient feature in LinkedIn’s Top Startups 2018

11 September 2018 4 min. read

Expert360 and Escient have featured in LinkedIn’s Top Australian Startups of 2018 list at numbers two and three respectively. The consulting firms show Australia’s drive for flexibility in the workplace and combine the gig economy with a booming management consulting market. 

LinkedIn’s Top Startups 2018 showcases the heavyweights of Australian entrepreneurship; those who challenge the way in which business is done traditionally and intentionally disrupt the playing field. This year’s list shows that the growing global trend towards digital enterprise has not escaped the Australian sphere with online services featuring prominently in the ranking. 

A startup is eligible to be included in the list when it has over 50 employees, has been around for under 7 years, and is privately held in Australia. At the top of the list was billion dollar drag-and-drop graphic design software company Canva. Expert360 was named second on the ranking, and third came Escient. Bedding retailer Koala took the fourth spot and outsourcing specialist Airtasker rounded out the top five.

Consulting startups Expert360 and Escient feature in LinkedIn’s Top Startups 2018


Expert360 connects innovative businesses with freelance professionals with the goal of enabling talent agility through a technological solution. The firm’s founders including current CEO Bridget Loudon come from a management consulting background. Whilst working with Bain & Company, Loudon realised the potential which consultants can bring to the table for companies and also the limitations to build highly efficient teams quickly.

“At that time, corporations lacked the ability to easily augment staff, build handpicked consultant teams, hire top individual short-term talent and engage with subject matter experts and boutique firms. They were also unable to have these elite business professionals available for deployment within days, not weeks,” states the firm. 

To counter this, Expert360 was born. The consultancy platform allows businesses to engage and manage top talent for short-term work. Established in 2013, the platform was one of the earliest entries into the online marketplace for consultants. Today Expert360 has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and in San Fransisco and will take on the likes of Talmix in the US and COMATCH in Europe with 19,000+ freelancers.

“Expert360 are thrilled to have been ranked #2 by LinkedIn, second to Canva and followed by some big-name disruptors in the start-up space including, Airtasker and Prospa.” states the firm on LinkedIn. 


Escient took the second place rankings with their unique blend of digital and business advisory offerings. The employee-owned strategy and management consulting firm has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Whilst they are not competing with the big consulting firms, they have taken the lead of Australia’s boutique firms, changing the game in the professional services sector. 

The LinkedIn ranking takes into account employee motivations to work at a startup as well as ability to poach top-talent from competitors. The attraction which Escient is undoubtably known for is their approach to buying in and ownership. All employees have access to an employee share plan where any employee can be a part owner in the company. Also, clients are invited to sit on the firm’s advisory board, turning the tables in this respect.

The firms are just a few of the new boutique entries into the lucrative consulting market in Australia. A report by last year puts the value of the industry nationwide at upwards of $4.6 billion. Traditional consulting firms are attempting to keep up with these new entries by adapting their flexible schedules and adding creative financial incentives, yet the growing success of Escient and Expert360 show that the marketplace is diversifying. 

“We are beyond thrilled and proud to announce Escient has been ranked 3rd on LinkedIn’s 2018 Top 25 Australian Startups list which celebrates the most sought-after places to work by professionals,” said the firm on LinkedIn.

“It is incredibly humbling to be amongst such a list of true innovators challenging themselves to push beyond what might be possible today. A big thank you to our team who through their creativity, courage and selflessness have made our company such a great place to work. We will continue to write our own future and will always be on the lookout for similarly minded people who resonate with our values.”