Gardeners know that many plants require structural support to ensure they grow to their full potential.
Entrepreneurs and CEOs know that their business requires similar support. These leaders are often subject matter experts on their company’s product or service, but they need the support of finance and technology professionals to help the business grow to its full potential.
Datalign Advisory aims to provide that support. However, in a crowded field of consulting firms, Datalign stands out for its single advisor match tool that connects prospective customers with the financial advisor that will best match their needs.
The founders of Datalign Advisory needed support of their own in conceptualizing and launching the company. For that, they turned to Cogo Labs, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup ecosystem focused on scaling innovation and entrepreneurship in the Boston tech community. Self-described as “not your average startup incubator,” Cogo focuses on de-risking entrepreneurship by analyzing billions of data points to build and scale efficient, mission-driven companies — while also connecting them with a community of fellow entrepreneurs and innovators.
Through its incubation with Cogo Labs, the Datalign business model was generated, the company spun off, and now the team has grown — and is poised for that growth to continue. Growth that is measured by more than the numerical value of its revenue and headcount growth.
“A simplistic view of company growth focuses solely on increasing revenue and profits,” said Datalign Advisory Director of Analytics Jessica Dereli. “I think it is much more than that. To me, company growth includes a focus on revenue generation but also on improving user experience, creating useful and innovative products, developing personally and as a team, and more.”
“To me, company growth includes a focus on revenue generation but also on improving UX, creating useful and innovative products, developing personally and as a team, and more.”
Dereli’s perspective showcases a companywide growth mindset prioritizing quality over quantity — in partnerships, data and funnel management in a two-sided marketplace.
“We are a lean team, so the entire team is product first. We need to consider our partners’ needs, but sticking to our fundamental model of a transparent single advisor match marketplace is always the priority,” said Head of Partnerships at Datalign Advisory Alyssa Griffin.
Griffin noted that this focus “will almost always guarantee we are growing consistently and in a natural way that is worthwhile to the consumers and the businesses we work with.”
Datalign Advisory’s recent hirings may be the beginning of future growth. Still, its leaders are determined throughout the journey to create products that increase value for all. Built In sat down with Griffin and Dereli to learn more.
THE ORIGIN STORY
Created in Cogo Labs’ incubator, Datalign Advisory was founded by a group of experienced technology and business professionals who aligned on their shared passion for helping organizations harness the power of data and technology. Today, the firm has worked across a broad range of industries, and it has built a consumer-facing single advisor match marketplace to connect the right financial advisors with high-quality prospective clients.
What are your current hiring goals? How does this team expansion map to the scaling of Datalign Advisory as a whole?
Dereli: We are so happy to have recently had three new hires join our company on the engineering and account management teams. These teams are crucial in maintaining and improving user and partner experience. Growing the engineering team means — along with many other things — further product development to make for the best user experience possible. With an increasing number of partners, growth on the account management team ensures long-term success for us and our partners.
Griffin: Customer success and engineering are our fastest-growing teams, and we believe that will continue through the end of the year. As we continue to boost our business development efforts and focus on our lifetime value model, we will continue to add to the team to support the product and partnerships. This will also lead to a need for analysts and business intelligence support.
To what extent does Datalign’s growth match your vision when you first started?
Dereli: Starting out, we had a really strong team with a shared vision and drive, so I knew we would be able to grow very quickly. As a team, we have successfully adapted to challenges along our growth path to reach where we are now.
Griffin: We are fortunate to have a lot of connections from our incubator and the venture firms associated with the accelerator. Being in the performance marketing space for almost 10 years, our COO Hilary and I have leveraged our network to add the board advisors and partnerships that helped us get to scale. Now that we have proven ourselves in the industry and that our single-match tool is engaging consumers, we are in an excellent position to push that even further with the addition of new product features and employees.
What resources do you have available to ensure that your team’s skill set is growing to meet the changing needs of the business?
Dereli: We are a small team, so we work very closely together and learn a lot from each other’s expertise. It also means that we get to work on a wide range of projects, which can be challenging but also a rewarding experience that helps us pick up new skills. We also have great advisors who willingly share their expertise and knowledge.
Griffin: It’s exciting to leverage Link Venture’s partnership with the MIT Media Lab to engage with experts in the field. We also allow annual budgets for new learning and conferences to stay up to date with evolving technology and changes to the advisor marketplace.
Why is now the right time to accelerate Datalign’s growth?
Dereli: There are two main reasons this is the right time to accelerate our growth: new team members and experience. With the addition of new team members, we have expanded our expertise and resources, which allows us to tackle more ambitious projects and seek out additional opportunities. Having been established for over a year, we have gained valuable insights into the market, identified areas for improvement and built a good foundation for the business. We can leverage this insight and our larger team to scale quickly.
“Having been established for over a year, we have gained valuable insights into the market, identified areas for improvement and built a good foundation for the business.”
Griffin: Building trust in this market is key, and Datalign Advisory remains solution-focused for the full funnel: the individual and the advisor. We have seen a shift in the marketing industry in the past few years for more boutique and niche needs when it comes to financial services. Individuals are more conscious of how they are spending their money and how they want to engage with wealth advisors. The demand for both financial health and management is there. We are determined to remain focused on bringing quality to the experience for all involved.
What macro trends are you currently tracking, and how is your strategy adapting to meet them?
Dereli: From the analytics side, I’m excited about what we can learn about trends from our data. Our data has taught us about seasonality, the impact of market factors and user preferences. We use all of this information to create actionable items for continued growth, like implementing product improvements and identifying new partners.
Griffin: We are solution-driven. The one thing we refuse to divert from is the single-advisor match. The information and data of a consumer is such a sensitive topic across marketing platforms regardless of the industry. We are passionate that we will only match individuals to an advisor who truly meets customers’ unique needs in a secure environment.