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Bahrain-based Boonio is revolutionizing how professional services are found, purchased and delivered. Boonio’s mission is to drive innovation in the B2B professional services space by facilitating the discovery of service firms, increasing the quality of services scopes of work, and leveraging data and automation to enhance the user experience. 

Boonio was founded by Kirk-Dale E. McDowall-Rose and Yusuf Naqwi, two former IBM employees inspired by a desire to strike out on their own. The idea behind Boonio came about during the unforgettable year of 2020, when the two spent productive time in lockdown, refining their business ideas and developing their company’s principles and frameworks. Their focus was to create a B2B platform serving consulting firms and their clients – since they had spent most of their professional lives serving that market. 

We landed on the name Boonio because it sounded cool, and it was a fun play on the word boon – meaning to benefit someone,” Kirk-Dale, Co-Founder of Boonio, shared, “It’s a cool name with a meaning that summed up what we are all about – creating value-adds for the professional services sector.” 

So, what does Boonio do? Boonio uses digital automation to solve two critical problems in the services industry– discovery and specification. With thousands of skilled services firms available globally, discovering the best vendor can be challenging. Boonio makes it easy to find, compare, transact with, and rate service providers. 

Clients hire external advisors to address problems they can’t address internally. Often these problems are hard for buyers to specify on their own. Boonio takes a unique approach to address this—crowdsourcing. By having experts comment on their RFIs, users can refine their problem specifications and identify and monitor suitable strategic objectives. Simultaneously, users can identify experts and firms they would potentially like to work with to solve their problems. These experts can demonstrate thought leadership by showcasing their expertise on Boonio– posting comments on RFIs, while sharing and monetizing their intellectual property and methodologies. 

In a few months, Boonio is launching a team collaboration engine that will allow users to build virtual teams, develop deeper client-vendor relationships, and cover the full procurement life cycle, including RFPs and payments. “Think of the great talent we have in the region,” Yusuf stated. “Their main bottleneck to growth is getting discovered, not only by clients but also by complementary teams they could add their value to. Once discovered, they would be able to bid on larger projects. Wouldn’t it be great if they could be found, not only by clients regionally but also globally? That’s what Boonio gives them.”

Any organization can sign up for Boonio, but the founders’ target project size is larger than small freelance-led projects and smaller than large projects typically handled by big firms. This range allows Boonio to cater to the needs of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) on both the client and service provider sides. Their focus on professional services and SMEs sets them apart from other platforms in the market. Kirk-Dale stated, “We believe the market for advisors is enormous and that many highly skilled consultants leave the big advisory firms every year. They have the expertise of large firms and are more agile, but they need a scalable way to be found and supported.” 

“We see ourselves as advocates of the small firm. Our mandate is twofold: to help small services companies grow and help potential clients better understand their requirements and collaborate with the best partners,” Yusuf added, “Our vision is beyond simply being a marketplace or procurement platform. Everything we have built and are currently building is in service to these two stakeholders.” That’s what purpose sounds like, people! 

Of course, we had to ask the founders to impart some of that wisdom to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own startups, and they had some pretty important things to say! “Clarity only struck us once we defined the principles underpinning the business. It’s important to have a framework to assess your ideas and know which principles must be true for those ideas to work. Without principles, as a founder, you have no North Star. Your company’s principles help you derive something special and keep your teams aligned on your vision.” 

And that’s Boonio for you, incredibly motivating and taking their industry to the next level. Sign up for Boonio here, stay in touch through Twitter and LinkedIn. As for us, tell us what you think! Get in touch with us on Instagram and LinkedIn, we’d love to hear from you!