Judging by the number of apps and services for professional networking, it seems to be just as big of a challenge as dating.
Shapr, an iOS and Android app officially launching today, is tapping into people’s existing professional networks to help them make new connections. The company is also announcing $3 million in new funding.
Similarly to “friends-of-friends” dating app Hinge, Shapr asks professionals to log in with their LinkedIn profile (Hinge uses Facebook) and comes up with daily recommendations of potential people they should meet from their extended networks. These come from the “inner circle” of the most trusted connections, up to 50 of them, each person selected when joining Shapr. If two people express interest in being introduced, the app lets them message each other and notifies the mutual friend.
“It’s all about trust,” Shapr cofounder and chief executive Ludovic Huraux told VentureBeat regarding Shapr’s use of mutual connections as a vetting mechanism.
Professionals can also tap into these extended networks for advice, resources, and updates through the app’s Shapeline section, a forum-like place where they can share posts and interact with their extended network — even meet new people.
Although it’s taking a different approach, Shapr has plenty of competition in the networking space. Y Combinator-backed Weave uses location to suggest potential folks to connect with, and Treatings adds interests as additional criteria for the matches it suggests. The web-only Coffee.me, on the other hand, is a vetted community of tech industry professionals that currently only accepts about 29 percent of applicants.
Shapr raised its new funding from BlaBlaCar founder and chief executive Frédéric Mazzella, among other investors.
Huraux and Zane Groshelle cofounded Shapr, which has offices in New York City and Paris, in 2014.