Speed-networking site 85by55 makes meeting new business contacts slightly creepier

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Those crazy Brits. Today, British company 85by55 is launching as a mashup of two different services that should probably never be combined: LinkedIn and Chatroulette.

First of all, you’re probably wondering, “Why would someone name their company 85by55?” Co-founders Shed Simove and Jonathan Fren chose it because the standard business card is 85 by 55 millimeters in size.

What does a company that describes itself as “Chatroulette meets LinkedIn” look like? It’s a video chat “speed-networking” service that connects complete strangers to discuss business opportunities or whatever strikes a businessperson’s fancy.

The video chat “meets” are only two minutes long, just enough time to cut down on the painful awkwardness of chatting with a stranger. 85by55 claims that two minutes is just enough time to for a “meaningful conversation” without cutting into your tight schedule.


Chat partners are chosen at random, but there is an emphasis on what and whom you have in common based on your LinkedIn profiles. To expand the network of people you can connect with, you can add your Twitter and Facebook friends. You can also filter potential new contacts by industry or location.

Given Chatroulette’s often X-rated nature, we really hope these business folks keep it clean. Even if they do, and people are actually able to gain some real benefit for 85by55, I can’t help but think this is networking for the people who can’t be pried away from their computers long enough to meet people in the real world. What do you think? Would you use this tool to meet new business contacts?

Chatroulette image via Flickr user Matthew Burpee


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