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<2010 July>
Venture Capital/Private Equity
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Recent Entries
Sep. 22: Where are the Deals? Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds' Best Practices in Deal Origination
Lead Generation 2.0: How Entrepreneurs are Fueling the Next Wave of Innovation in Internet Marketing
Underleveraged talent pool: the unemployed and underemployed
Leveraging the talents of the autistic/creating a new business
Raising Fund X: Trends in Private Equity Fundraising and Fund Evaluation
Visit to SF Bay Area May 5-8: Wharton & Columbia Business School Alumni Clubs
Integrity Research Names Evalueserve Circle of Experts 2008 Top Pick as Asia/ Emerging Market Specialist Expert Network
On Sourcing Deals for Private Equity Funds
 Sunday, 13 July 2008
Leveraging the talents of the autistic/creating a new business

I recently learned about an entrepreneur with a very clever business model: Thorkil Sonne, founder of Danish software testing company Specialisterne.  The 55-person firm's clients include CSC, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Specialisterne claims to be the world's first company focused on leveraging the unique talents of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  Sonne started the company in large part to ensure that people with ASD—including his own son—would have employment opportunities.  ASD, the most common form of autism, affects close to 1% of the population, but only 10% of ASD adults obtain any form of employment.

Software testing is a repetitive role which requires high attention to detail, and is an excellent fit for the typical ASD personality. 75% of Specialisterne's testers have Asperger syndrome or a form of ASD.  Sonne estimates that 1% of all the tasks executed in a given large company are suitable for autistic workers.

What I particularly like about this is that Sonne identified a community of talent almost unused by the labor market, and has built a successful firm on that insight.  From the point of view of both profit and of social welfare, he has built a powerful model. He is now expanding internationally.

Author: David Teten
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