Sortlist was born from our previous activities as a digital agency.
When we didn't know how to solve a specific customer's problem, we would look in our network to find people better suited than us to deliver the digital works and take them with us for the pitch. Quickly, big companies were asking us to recommend the digital agencies that were best suited for them - using us as a kind of matchmaker or procurement agency. Since we were always looking for a scalable business model, we thought there would probably be a market for the specific problem that marketeers were describing.
The problem was the following: they wanted to be the first to get to know the hottest agencies (as in: the ones that will make it big tomorrow, but still hungry today). On the other hand, they wanted to be sure that they delivered top work. We looked into it and saw that they were using two tools, and that they were not happy with either one of them. There was LinkedIn, which doesn't work properly for the “discovery” part. On the other hand there was Google, which doesn't give any context, or reputational score.
We built Sortlist as a tool that combines the benefits of discovery (hot, unknown agencies) with the benefits of word of mouth (your network). It's bringing the Airbnb model (reputation economy) to the enterprise.
You can also see part of the story in this video.