Our History

PreScouter has come a long way in the last 6 years.


PreScouter has come a long way in the last 12 years

Prescouter Founded

PreScouter was founded in 2010 in Evanston, Illinois, USA, by Northwestern University graduate students. The idea for the company was sparked by a seemingly avoidable tragedy in China, which – along with the experiences of a Northwestern alumnus who was an R&D Director at a medical device company – exposed the difficulty of accessing and utilizing university research.

Global Analyst Network Established

In early 2011, while we were developing a business plan, we also began the process of building what is now known as the PreScouter Global Analyst Network. We began asking colleagues and friends at other top universities if they would be interested in working on a project to gain exposure to industry leaders and make a bit of money on the side. After completing pilot projects with Kraft Foods, UOP (Honeywell), and DSM, the founders realized that while corporate leaders were indeed eager to learn about relevant academic research, these veteran scientists and engineers were especially interested in the fresh perspectives and unbiased, critical analysis that PreScouter’s talented analysts were providing about their findings. So the founders set about to develop a Global Analyst Network consisting of aspiring scientists, engineers, economists, analysts, and developers who share a common ambition to apply their academic knowledge and problem-solving skills to challenges faced in industry.

PreScouter Broadens Scope

The initial concept involved members of the analyst network to work in teams to help connect corporate R&D labs with the research coming from academia, including university labs, but also incorporated analysis. Soon though, both the early analysts and the founders began to realize that clients were less interested in exactly where the information came from and more interested in being exposed to new technologies and understanding more about innovations and scientific research that might be relevant to their industries. Thus, PreScouter began to offer a broader scope of services, which included a wide range of sources that included university labs, but also included analysis of startups, competitors, and even innovations in other industries that could be applicable. By this time, PreScouter’s operations had moved from hourly meeting rooms on campus at Northwestern University to the Evanston Technology & Innovation Center, a small incubator in downtown Evanston. A team of three sales representatives was hired, and the Global Analyst Network – with nearly 100 members – was beginning to develop an identity thanks to an aggressive email marketing campaign. On the Service Delivery side, a project architect was hired to manage project timelines, coordinate schedules, and serve as a point person between the client team and the analysts working on a project.

PreScouter Expands Service and Network

By early 2013, PreScouter had learned from prior experiences with early clients and developed an effective process. Part of the evolution of the company involved the definition of three product offerings: Technology Landscapes were intended to provide a broad view of potential solutions in an area of interest in which the direction the client wanted to take was not yet clear. Landscapes provide identification and high-level analysis from analysts of 30-50 potential solutions to the client’s challenge. Technology Portfolios were (and still are) ideal for clients with a more well-defined challenge. Analysts would identify potential solutions and offer a bit more in-depth analysis of each one in order to allow the client leadership team to determine whether a deeper dive was warranted. Technology Investigations were (and still are) the tool for the deeper dives. These fully customized reports provide in-depth profiles of solutions, including interviews with solution providers, ratings on IP position, evaluation of the state of the technology, and more client-requested analysis. In addition, the client service teams had evolved as well, with the most experienced analysts gaining the title of “Senior Analyst” and eventually “Team Lead” status being assigned on each project. Additionally, PreScouter began a relationship with the Project Management Institute in order to provide analysts with free training and certification opportunities to enhance their preparation for careers in industry.

PreScouter Publishes Original Content

2014 marked a major transition for PreScouter. By the end of the previous year, it was clear that the company had outgrown its incubator space. So, early in 2014 the headquarters office moved into its current office suite, also in Evanston. At the same time, an experienced sales director was hired and the sales and service delivery processes were both re-defined. At the end of the year, PreScouter held its first live event and published its first report - “Nine Disruptive Technologies Changing the World” - which was written entirely by PreScouter analysts. This coincided with monthly publications of analyst articles to the PreScouter Journal. By the second half of the year, PreScouter began hiring analysts into full time Service Delivery roles as project managers and staff scientists. Meanwhile, the network continued to expand to over 500 analysts worldwide, and the list of clients served reached nearly 200, with many signing on for additional projects after the completion of their initial agreements.

A renewed PreScouter Experience

The company has grown to include over 30 full-time employees (working in Evanston and from remote home offices) and 800 analysts representing five continents, coming from the top research universities in the world. The Service Delivery team has evolved to the point that it is made up almost exclusively of ‘graduates’ of the Global Analyst Program, individuals who are using their experience as analysts to help continue the evolution and growth of the company and the Network, and to deliver the highest quality services to clients. PreScouter continues to progress toward faster, better projects and is developing technology to automate the experience and make it “effortless” for the client and the analysts.

PreScouter hosted a webinar, presented by analysts, titled "Graphene: How This Wonder Material is Transforming Every Industry". PreScouter analysts also presented a webinar - "Building A Real Jurassic World" on the future of biotechnology and genetic engineering .This research was featured in San Francisco Gate and Genetic Literacy Project.

PreScouter Ranks on Inc. 5000

In 2018 PreScouter Ranked No. 2446 on Inc. Magazine 37th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

PreScouter DX launches

PreScouter DX provides a simple, easy to deploy saliva-based testing solution for Covid-19 and substance abuse.

PreScouter Sustainability Solutions

PreScouter is committed to helping our clients with carbon accounting, carbon reduction, and long-term carbon management. That is why we developed sustainability solutions. Please click on the link to learn more!