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About us

We believe Outsized is unique. There’s the obvious – the fact that we’re the only platform focused on the high-end independent talent market for enterprise clients and management consulting firms across Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East.

More important is how our values set us apart. We believe in doing business in the right way. That means being a force for good in building a sustainable and ethical talent market, treating both clients and talent fairly. And we believe in having fun along the way!

What we do

Outsized is a high-end independent talent platform for enterprise clients and consulting firms in Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East. We help clients when they need independent consultants, subject-matter experts, and expert contractors on-demand. We also support them with larger, more strategic programs to build and implement flexible workforce models. This can be virtual benches and bespoke talent pools; in other words talent models that really move the needle in terms of overall operational agility, innovation capacity, and profitability.

The projects and roles we match talent to clients for are normally full-time contracts (remote or onsite), and typically last between 1-12 months. Our clients use us for a broad range of skills. Common examples include digital transformation specialists, project & programme managers (PMOs), strategy consultants, data scientists, actuaries, innovation consultants, agile coaches, and business analysts, to name a few. Look at our Talent-on-Demand Report 2024 for more in-depth information about skills in demand by region, average day rates, and much more.

What we believe in

What we believe in is as important, if not more so, than what we do. It’s our beliefs and values that shape how we interact with all stakeholders; clients, independents, and our team. There are three things we hold very dear (it always has to be three things, remember we are ex-consultants!):

  • More efficient, unbiased, matching of skills and demand. When we match the right skills to the right opportunity, without any bias, the outcomes will be better for every assignment. Repeated thousands of times, this approach will lead companies to perform better, create more job opportunities, and contribute more in taxes – benefitting whole societies. In our books these are some great wins!

  • Being a force for good in the talent market. Some talent marketplace business models focus almost entirely on client benefits, but at the same time they lead to a race to the bottom in terms of pay and terms & conditions for freelancers. We strongly believe that it’s in everyone’s best interest, also for clients, to work for a more equitable model. Highly skilled professionals will only become (and stay) independent if they are paid fairly, set up for success, and be treated well overall. Thus, not only is it the right thing to do, it’s also in the self interest of clients.

  • Doing business in the right way – with all stakeholders. We have tried to summarize our core corporate values in three words: Integrity, Passion, and Accountability. What these simple words try to capture is that we always act ethically (not always the case in the broader talent market), that we are very passionate and determined, and that each and every one of us takes responsibility, think critically, work collaboratively, and act as owners.

The above values and beliefs shape all of our interactions. And here’s the thing – it’s not just in our work with clients, but also with our talent, and, importantly, within our teams. We are far from perfect and we make many mistakes, but the intention and effort is there. If you are a client or talent and have tips on how we can do better, please do reach out directly to niclas[at]outsized[dot]com. If you’ve not yet experienced working with us, take a moment to check out what clients, talent, and our team think on Trustpilot, Google, and Glassdoor.

How it all started

Are you looking for the Outsized origin story? Sure – why not, how long do you have…? Don’t worry – we’ll keep it relatively short. Speaking of short, our founder Niclas Thelander got the idea when working in his previous job at an emerging markets private equity fund.

In his role as head of value creation he often needed to hire external help to implement all the 100-day plans his investment colleagues had so ‘carefully’ designed. Increase growth by 20% through a new distribution strategy – here you go Niclas, please execute! Long story short, finding the expertise needed was not always easy. An idea was born to leverage scale and network effects across growth markets, and Outsized saw the light of day.

A little later Niclas was introduced to Anurag Bhalla, who was working at an innovation consulting firm. Wanting to do something on his own, this was the opportunity he had waited for. In early 2016 they set off to India and Ghana, armed with a PowerPoint deck, a fake – sorry, aspirational – platform demo, and unjustified high expectations.

After some initial traction, we secured a few angel investors which made an initial expansion possible. Take a bow, our dear early believers! Anurag moved to India, the team started to grow, and in 2018 Johann van Niekerk and Azeem Zainulbhai joined as cofounders. Fast forward and we’ve added new geographies, a client list to die for, and attracted the best independent talent across Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East along the way.

When we write this in early 2024, we have grown to 45 employees, and they are the real stars of the show. We’re sure you know the expression that “ideas are a dime a dozen”. Well, without a team that is as enthusiastic, dedicated, and as fun as ours is, we would not be here today. Thank you!

Where you can find us

Our focus regions are Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East. Being home to over 6bn people out of the global total of 8bn, we figured this was enough to start with in terms of an addressable market…! This is where most of our clients are, where most of our talent platform members live (but not all!), and this is also where our team lives. Our own people are based out of Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, India, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and South Africa. And for reasons only our founder can explain, Sweden.

We don’t know about you, but as great as a four hour virtual conference on a small screen is, we also like actual in-person interactions. This is why we have accelerated organising roundtables, breakfast talks, and other types of client events. What about us, we hear our talent scream. Don’t worry, we also have talent meetups in many of our locations, sometimes these are pure social affairs, other times we bring interesting speakers and subject-matter experts.