Business Management

Globality seeks to tap benefits of globalisation

Globality, a B2B marketplace connecting SMEs with large enterprises, emerged from stealth mode earlier this year. With a total of $37.25M in funding, this latest venture form serial entrepreneur, Joel Hyatt, claims to tap into the societal benefits of globalisation. A lightly edited Q&A with Hyatt can be found below.


As an entrepreneur with a number of businesses under your belt, what made you focus on this particular idea?

This is my fourth startup. Each one has been about identifying a societal issue and figuring out a private sector approach that can address the issue and create positive change. At Globality, our mission is to drive the benefits of globalisation deeper into the economy. I’m a huge proponent of globalisation, but I also understand the anxiety and fear triggered by globalisation – it’s seen by some as beneficial only for the elites and for the top 1%.  And while I don’t agree with that, it is a fact that many people have suffered by being lost in the transitions from a national to global economy, from a manufacturing to services economy, and from an analogue to digital economy. We identified an opportunity to use the reality of globalisation – together with innovative new technology – to enable small and midsize services firms to get business from larger corporations anywhere in the world easily and efficiently. Our goal is to create micro-multinationals. As those small companies grow by expanding into international markets, they will create new jobs.


Globalisation has become a bit of a political hot potato of late. Can you explain how your company taps the benefits?

Today’s toxic political environment makes Globality’s mission more important than ever, and demonstrates the need for the private sector to play a leading role in making globalisation work. Given the dysfunction in governments around the world, the business community needs to step up, drive change and help extend the benefits of globalisation. Even if trade agreements are undone, globalisation won’t go away. Further, it can’t, and it shouldn’t. We live in a globalised economy, and that will not change. The challenge – and opportunity – is to enable more companies and people to participate in the global economy. Globality has created a business-to-business marketplace giving smaller service providers the opportunity to work with the world’s largest corporations while also exposing large enterprises to a pre-qualified network of smaller, best-in-class service providers, many of whom they would never otherwise discover. We’ve removed the friction and inefficiencies that come with working cross border, with the ultimate goal of helping bring more jobs and revenue to smaller service providers.


Companies like Blur Group cover some of the same ground you do. Who are your nearest competitors?

There are companies out there doing similar things, but no one else has a marketplace curated with this unique combination of AI and human intelligence. Our AI unlocks for clients an unprecedented variety of service providers and capabilities that a single, standard enterprise would otherwise not have access to or be able to manage on its own, at scale. And our industry experts personally curate the process to ensure the best matches possible for clients and service providers. We see our competition as being the status quo when it comes to how large corporations find service providers and establish cross-border partnerships. Traditional methods – like the RFP – don’t serve buyers or sellers well. The RFP is an analogue work process in a digital world. And it is a process that creates large frictions and transaction costs for smaller enterprises. We have replaced the RFP process with a modern digital solution, saving time and money for both large corporate buyers and SME service providers. To be clear, we’re not a freelancer network; although there are marketplaces out there that match companies with freelance workers. By contrast, Globality’s platform is for small and midsize services companies with between 20 and 500 employees. And the platform is architected to meet the needs and standards of the world’s largest and most sophisticated corporations searching for the best service providers.


What has changed since you exited from stealth mode this January?

We have clients! We exited stealth in January after two years of building the AI for the platform, recruiting an outstanding team of industry experts, and building a critical mass of service providers. Now we’re “live” with a diverse range of projects on the platform from multiple clients, including some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated multinational corporations. And Globality Service Providers get more opportunities to grow their businesses. We are very encouraged by both the quality and quantity of clients and service providers we are attracting to Globality’s platform. Every day, we’re learning from our customers and partners about new features they want or new types of capabilities we should develop for the platform. And we are growing. Globality’s team now includes more than 80 people based in the United States, Great Britain, Switzerland, and Hong Kong.


You currently have about 500 companies available on the platform. How are these split across different geographies and areas?

Globality is focused on the sectors of Marketing, Legal, Energy, Environment, and Social Impact, and we’ll be adding Management Consulting in July. The Globality Service Provider Network now extends to more than 60 countries across six continents. We’re always looking to bring on more outstanding SMEs. We carefully vet all of the providers on our platform, and we are aggressively expanding our coverage in more countries.


What are your short, medium and long-term plans for Globality?

Let me take those in reverse order. Our aspiration is that whenever any company of any size anywhere in the world needs a service provider, it will come to Globality to find the perfect one. But we have to walk before we run. So the next phases of our growth will be to expand our coverage into more countries and our services into more sectors. Globality will thrive on the strength of its network and the experience that clients and SMEs have on the platform. So we need to continuously improve the premium experience. That means we will be investing heavily in AI and in our product roadmap. The growth prospects are very motivating to all of us at Globality.


In the wider tech sphere what do you think the most interesting trends at the moment are?

I am a big believer in the ability of technology to address societal issues. I believe that applying technology to education, delivery of health care, transportation, and climate change holds great promise, and I follow developments in those areas. 


Is Universal Basic Income the answer to a post-automation world?

I support a universal minimum income. I do so less because technology is replacing jobs than because I believe there is a moral imperative to establish a floor for quality of life that assures basic subsistence and access to health care. I believe that growing economic inequality is a serious issue that will be destabilising unless addressed. I frankly believe these things are just “good business.”


Technology is likely to have an increased impact on the future of society – do you think any aspects of this are dystopian?

Only if we fail to address the challenges as they arise. I am worried that the political arena – and governments generally – are so dysfunctional today. I believe that the business community can and must do more to provide leadership on public policy issues that demonstrates a long term concern for the health of the economy as a whole not just for the next quarter’s earnings. And it will be the business community that is innovating in technology that must take seriously the public policy issues associated with technological advances. Turning a blind eye or deaf ear to privacy concerns or to the rise of fake news or to the soliciting of terrorists on social media platforms is not good business.


Is there anything else you want to share?

I want to reiterate that the problem with globalisation is not that it exists, but that the dislocations it has caused to many people were not adequately addressed either by public policies or by the business community. Globalisation has lifted almost two billion people out of poverty. And it has lowered the costs of goods to consumers all over the world. Extending the benefits of globalisation will result in more people and businesses gaining economically.    


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