Agorize is an Open Innovation as a Service platform that helps organizations innovate and recruit faster by launching challenges and hackathons online.
At first, we just wanted to reinvent case competitions.
Charles Thou, Yohann Melamed, and Yohan Attal met during their Masters at HEC Paris, in 2010. They used to compete in numerous case competitions and hackathons and loved it. They were a great way to gain experience, get mentorship, expand their network, and live an entrepreneurial adventure with no strings attached.
However, they soon noticed the limits of such events: if you don’t live in the right city and are not available during the right weekend, you just can’t participate. Also, they’d always meet the same contestants over and over again.
Then came the idea of building an online platform that would make it possible for any student from anywhere to participate in a competition. All you needed to have was a computer and an internet connection.
But we ended up uncovering a much wider opportunity.
More than ever, a company’s survival resides in its ability to change and innovate rapidly. It is no surprise that 40% of today’s Fortune 500 companies will be extinct in 10 years.
Yet, the way legacy companies innovate today is broken because they do it in a close mode. Most of them struggle to find the right solutions and the right talent to drive change efficiently.
On the other hand, you have millions of talented creative people willing to solve problems. But they lack the means to let the right decision-makers know about their solutions.
Through our platform and our global network, we realized that we are able to access these untapped pools of talent.
The way we bridge the gap between innovators and companies is atypical.
We created a unique online-to-offline approach. Our challenges last 3 to 6 months. They start online and end up during a physical event.
First: we create an online collaboration platform that presents the company’s challenge.
Second: we promote this challenge to our global network of 5 million students, developers, entrepreneurs, startups, and employees in 185 countries, who are eager to solve challenges of all sorts.
Third: thousands of participants form teams and submit their solutions online. The company invites the best teams to pitch during an in-person event and rewards the winners.
In the End: companies accelerate the best projects and recruit the best talent.
We are happy to say our model works. We have organized 500 challenges for 200 companies, including CBC/Radio-Canada, Loto-Québec, Desjardins, CGI, TD, National Bank of Canada, the U.S. Department of Education, Citi Bank, Oxford Properties, Baker & McKenzie, Microsoft, and L’Oréal.
We have helped 40,000 students get hired in these companies. And triggered the creation of thousands of startups who are now successfully raising funds and getting contracts.
Agorize has grown from a 3-people startup into an 70-strong scaleup in 7 years. We now have 6 offices: Montreal, Toronto, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Stuttgart.
Since our last funding, we multiplied our revenue by 5 and reached profitability – something rare in the startup world!
Our next step is to accelerate our growth in Canada and contribute to making the country’s innovators and entrepreneurs shine globally.