Lynk is a Hong Kong-based expert network that raised a USD24m Series B in January 2021 from Brewer Lane Ventures, MassMutual Ventures and the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund. Lynk connects investors and businesses with a global network of over 800,000 experts.
EMPEA spoke with CEO Peggy Choi about what kinds of investors are using the platform, how they are scaling knowledge as a service and expansion plans in China and North America.
EMPEA: Who are the founders of Lynk, when was it founded, and why did you start this business?
Peggy Choi: I founded Lynk in 2015 with my colleagues Evan Xiao Han, Chief Revenue Officer, and Jennifer Li, Director. Before founding Lynk, I was a super user of expert consultancies when I was at Silver Lake and TPG, so I’ve seen exactly how we could improve this system and where access to expertise should be expanded. That was a great way to learn the intricacies of what needed to be changed. Additionally, my parents are artists and entrepreneurs, but they often came to me with questions on how to scale their businesses, but I didn’t feel like I could give them the best insight. So I figured there needed to be a way to enable access to that knowledge/expertise in a scalable way.
That’s what drove me to start Lynk, an AI-driven Knowledge-as-a-Service platform. We think of the space as “human expertise.” It’s a broad space encompassing a range of companies from traditional consultancies, online Q&A forums and market research firms, to enterprise knowledge management solutions. Our core solution, Lynk Answers, connects institutions and companies to 840K+ global experts to make better business decisions. Using data to index knowledge domains and experts, our engine delivers highly relevant discovery and matching of questions to experts and answers with a human-in-the-loop approach to drive a virtuous cycle, making knowledge sharing faster and easier than ever.
Who are Lynk’s clients and what is the go-to-market strategy?
Our target market includes businesses and investors that can benefit from fast access to insights and expertise. More than 200 customers utilize Lynk’s platform, including Fortune 500 companies, global private equity funds, venture capital firms, hedge funds, media, top tier consulting firms, government agencies and multinational enterprises and startups.
When considering our go-to-market strategy, we’ve seen that the traditional market is crowded, but these traditional consultancies haven’t found a way to make finding experts scalable. The business model at traditional consultancies is not optimized for aggregating and providing expert knowledge at scale. At Lynk, we’ve created a platform that gets smarter with more customers and usage. We’ve transformed the commercial model that traditional consultancies have used by lowering the entry point to access that knowledge.
The increasing focus on emerging markets among private capital has also been a significant growth driver for us, as our global network of experts with deep access in Asia is especially relevant for investors looking at emerging markets and cross-border investments.
We also have some new products that provide companies with comprehensive knowledge management solutions to consolidate their experts and networks all on the same platform. This is particularly relevant for many private equity funds. It is exciting to see the growing use cases of our solutions among investment firms. We believe that the ultimate winner will be the one who leverages technology in a scalable and innovative way, and that’s what we’re doing at Lynk.
How does Lynk vet its experts?
Experts are in various stages of the vetting process — think of it as a funnel, and our 840K+ experts are spread across that. At the initial stage, it involves data-driven identification and matching to trending demand. As we go through the funnel, there are incremental verifications, screening questions and answers at various steps. For some, customers may configure additional requirements such as identity checks. Customers can also ask recommended experts a couple of questions and obtain their responses before engaging experts in a conversation. Our team is also available to help customers along the way. We believe that if someone out there knows something, others can learn from it. At that point, it’s about classifying, organizing and recommending the right experts and answers to the question.
What are Lynk’s current markets of operation?
We operate globally with offices in New York City, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai, Hyderabad, Manila and Toronto.
Our customer base and revenue mix already covers North America and China, in addition to India, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and some markets in Europe and the Middle East. This includes global companies in these regions and also domestic firms. Given the surge in demand in North America and China, we will be using the funding for international expansion. We are expanding our client-facing operations hubs in Toronto, New York and Shanghai, and investing in the growth of our engineering teams in Toronto, India and Hong Kong.
Anything else we should know?
First, thank you for taking the time to learn more about Lynk. One thing I’d like to add is that our society doesn’t talk enough about how technology can transform access to knowledge.
There is still a huge gap to be filled. If Lynk can achieve what we set out to do by expanding access to knowledge, I believe this can transform how we ask questions on a day-to-day basis. We are the market leader paving the way for the Knowledge-as-a-Service industry, and our knowledge platform is getting smarter every day.
I’m confident that we are on the right track and I am excited to see what we can bring to the market this year.