Case Study


Revolutionizing the Environmental, Health, and Safety Industry

Partnering with YellowBird, an online marketplace platform connecting experts in the field of risk, regulation, and EHS programs with businesses on-demand.
  • YellowBird has built a market in 49 States.
  • They have 400 (vetted, qualified, insured) professionals and over 150 Companies registered and using the service.  
  • Since graduating from the Coplex program, YellowBird has raised over $1M and hired a team of exceptional leaders and employees.

The Challenge.

To help EHS professionals find consistent opportunities for supplemental income that they can obtain on their schedule, while helping businesses lower risk, reduce injury, and stay in OSHA/EPA regulatory compliance leveraging to pre-qualified EHS professionals on demand.


Working together to assess the problem and needs of both customer segments to create a sustainable solution. YellowBird is a two-sided marketplace that connects industry and subject matter experts in EHS with the businesses on-demand. 

Problems Create Opportunities.

Every industry has its share of problems. Michael Zalle, Founder & CEO of YellowBird, noticed issues that severely hinder EHS professionals and the businesses that need their services.

The problems at hand for both sides of the industry are:
  • Sourcing EHS professionals through staffing agencies or internal HR processes are time-intensive,  unreliable, and costly.
    Often this process takes 2-4 weeks to identify a temporary skilled candidate match.  Full-time experienced and certified candidates can take much longer, up to 3-6 months.
  • Workers in transition and retirees find marketing themselves and running a small business a daunting task.
    The upfront costs to start a single proprietorship in EHS is prohibitive ($20K+), therefore many professionals don’t use their skills outside their typical Full-Time position. 

However, if there is a problem, that means there is an opportunity to create a solution.

Finding a Partner: Coplex.

It is critical to be knowledgeable and passionate about the problem you’re solving. However, it also takes a village to turn ideas into action; that’s where Coplex steps in and provides a unique opportunity for Subject Matter Experts looking to make a lasting impact in their industry.

In May of 2019, Michael Zalle, Founder & CEO of YellowBird, partnered with Coplex to join our Venture Studio program. Our team of business-building experts combined with Michael’s 25+ years of experience in Environmental, Health, and Safety made for the perfect storm to disrupt the industry. Together, we were able to generate a successful business model, create a go-to-market strategy, and dive into product design and development.

“Coplex was recognized in the Phoenix startup community as a leading venture builder with top talent and executive contacts. Their success with other startup marketplaces influenced the decision to partner with them.”

—Michael Zalle, CEO and Founder of YellowBird

The Solution: YellowBird.

We took Michael Zalle and his founding team through the Coplex program to build YellowBird, a two-sided marketplace that connects on-demand Environmental Health and Safety Professionals to the businesses that need them. Then, we began working on the business over a 9-month engagement:

The first three months were dedicated to validating and testing the business model and brand positioning. From there, we dove into the initial product design and MVP build within the first six months. Once the entity was formed we could deploy an effective marketing strategy and generate leads. The remaining time of the nine-month engagement was dedicated to additional revenue generation and fundraising for investment.

“Interviewing the 100 Demand and 100 Supply users (prospects) to ask questions was challenging, but was very valuable in determining if there was a strong probability of product-market fit.”

—Michael Zalle, CEO and Founder of YellowBird

The Road Ahead: Industry Disruption.

For the journey ahead, the YellowBird team plans to:

  • Continue to grow the Professional and Company base
  • Leverage the knowledge of professionals on behalf of other companies (training, insurance, program implementation)
  • Value-added services and benefits
  • Continue 500X growth and open a Series A to fund and support the growth teams