Chicago entrepreneurs need thoughtful people around them. This app is here to help.

Tiffany Meyers

The “work” in “networking” is fitting: It takes a good deal of time and effort to sift through the stacks of business cards you collect at professional happy hours. One app is helping people in Chicago and beyond streamline the process.  

Using a swipe-left function that will be familiar to online daters, Shapr empowers users — and there are 15,000 in Chicago alone — to grow their professional circles from the comfort of their own phones. The goal is to meet in person, but only when you know it’s a good fit.

“Shapr has already helped entrepreneurs around the globe,” said Mandy Menaker, head of PR and brand development at Shapr, who shared some recent success stories.

One entrepreneur met her collaborator/developer for a video sharing platform, which is poised to launch soon, while a healthcare entrepreneur met two advisory board members for his startup.

Game-changing partnerships have emerged, too. Conversations through Shapr led to two agencies teaming up to offer more options in web and design work for clients. This partnership has already produced two new contracts from professionals happy with the breadth of creative services available.

“These are just a few of the almost two million professional matches the app has made so far in 2017,” Menaker added.

Shapr helps discover high-value matches like these with an algorithm that combines geographic proximity, self-selected interests, industry and work experience, delivering a daily batch of matches to your phone.

The algorithm is smart, so the more you swipe, the better the app becomes at finding your next professional soul mate. For busy tech and startup professionals, Shapr makes it easy to meet relevant people.

“We believe that the biggest mistake you can make as professional is to start networking when you need a new job or need investors for your side hustle,” said Menaker. “You should start building relationships early, long before you have a specific ask. If you spend two minutes a day on Shapr, networking becomes part of your daily routine. You’re continually having meaningful professional conversations that can lead to new opportunities and new ways of thinking.”

To start, build a quick professional profile with a list of interests from #Music to #Marketing. Shapr then delivers matches, which you can swipe to choose yes or no anonymously. If the desire to connect is mutual, the app notifies you — from which point you can message to decide how and when to bring the connection into real life.

Whereas that other swipe-centric app can overwhelm users with too many fish in the sea, Shapr emphasizes quality over quantity, limiting your daily batch to about 15 suggested profiles. Users who seek to use the app for marketing, dating or spam are blocked. 

Who are you likely to meet on Shapr? Many users seek to expand their connections overall, like if they’ve relocated or changed careers or industries. You’ll also find job seekers and recruiters with opportunities. As noted, people from the startup community tend to use the app to find business partners, investors and new hires.

“In the startup community, we’ve seen some really amazing collaborations come from Shapr,” said Menaker, who added some words of wisdom: “The best Shapr meetups happen when you’re open-minded, interested in learning from your match and ready to exchange ideas. If you can offer some advice to your match or make an intro to another person in your network, all the better.”

 

Photo via Shapr.

To learn more, download Shapr on your phone for free (iOS and Android).

 

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