New York-based NewtonX, which is developing search solutions that connect companies with subject matter experts, today revealed it has secured $12 million in a series A funding round led by Two Sigma Ventures, with participation from Third Prime Capital and Xfund. The fresh funds come as NewtonX is attracting big-name clients like Microsoft and 23andMe and will enable the company to expand its headcount from 30 employees to 100 within the next year, according to CEO Germain Chastel.
“When my cofounder, Sascha, and I first conceived of NewtonX, we were working on a highly confidential project that required insight into market expansion opportunities for self-driving cars,” said Chastel. “We needed several in-person workshops and a 50-expert survey within a one-week deadline but found that there was no solution on the market to meet this deadline while maintaining the quality of the experts chosen. Our company’s growth … only reiterates this demand.”
NewtonX’s core product offerings include mobile-compatible surveys, on-demand discussions with C-suite executives and domain experts, targeted recruiting of workers with unique skillsets, and customized search capabilities for internal enterprise use. The engine they share in common leverages AI — specifically robotic process automation — to parse questions for cues. It correlates its findings with a knowledge graph of “thought leaders” that includes current and former CEOs, board advisors, academics from MIT and Harvard, and keynote speakers — all of whom provide recommendations in real time.
From a client point of view, it’s as easy as creating a profile, filling out a form, and accepting a connection request from one of NewtonX’s experts. Automated scheduling and billing tools handle of the rest.
NewtonX said it has provided insights into fields ranging from quantum computing to the oil industry, fashion, and titanium ore extraction. For one client, it set up 10 videoconferencing sessions with data monetization experts to answer questions about best practices; for another, it recruited a team of engineers and salespeople to develop strategies around the virtual reality market.
Of course, NewtonX is not the only startup using AI to build a network of human expertise. Zurich-based Starmind has a platform that automatically forwards questions to domain experts within companies, and GrowthEnabler connects large corporations with people and companies that match their needs.
But Two Sigma Ventures partner Dan Abelon claims that NewtonX’s approach is far broader in scope. For example, he said, its proprietary speech-to-text software enables it to deliver surveys and reports at twice the speed and half the cost of traditional panels. And on the compliance side of things, to prevent conflicts of interest and breaches of confidentiality, NewtonX has implemented a system that allows organizations to register guidelines concerning consulting activity.
“What struck us about NewtonX is that they’re attempting to create a paradigm shift in the B2B expertise market. Incumbent market research firms, consulting firms, and expert networks used to rely on preexisting pools of expert consultants,” he said. “We believe NewtonX is turning this model on its head by automating custom searches to recruit the best experts in real time for any given client request and, in doing so, is capable of transforming multiple industries.”
New York-based NewtonX was founded in 2016 and has two offices abroad. Last year, it claimed “seven-digit” revenue.