Following the emergence of quick-fire dating apps such as Tinder, happn and Grinder, a clever business app has taken off using the same premise that aims to build productive business relationships rather than fleeting encounters. Meet Shapr, a free networking app (iOS and Android) that suggests a daily batch of 10 to 15 nearby professionals who are also interested in expanding their professional networks. It’s like LinkedIn, but a lot cooler and much less formal. If a formalised ‘networking breakfast meeting’ fills you with dread, this could be the solution you’ve been looking for.
Shapr looks to revolutionise the way we meet and connect with other professionals, so there’s no uncomfortable small talk required. In the same way that Tinder has helped the shy-at-heart avoid having to approach prospective partners at the bar, Shapr eliminates the need to approach equally awkward looking souls at a soggy-sandwich convention.
Here’s how it works: Similar to dating apps, you swipe right when you want to connect with a professional on the app. If both people want to meet then you can chat on the app, or arrange to get a casual coffee and share ideas. Both parties have opted in twice to connecting (first by downloading the app and second by swiping right) so your message will be returned, unlike those five emails you sent on LinkedIn that still haven’t been answered. The app also includes a few preformatted icebreakers if you need help getting started.
The list of profile suggestions you’ll see each day is based on your location, job industry, and tagged interests (both professional and personal). Since the list is kept to 15 people a day, it’s easy to make Shapr a daily habit, and you can even network at the swipe of a thumb whilst on the bus or having your haircut.
As more and more people are becoming self-employed, launching their own businesses and fostering portfolio careers, networking has never been more important. Whilst dating apps like Tinder have mixed success rates, users of Shapr have been raving about the app.
We browsed a few reviews in the App Store. Says one user in his five star review, “It’s professional networking in seconds. Nicely done. No issues. It’s as if LinkedIn and Tinder had a professional child. Swipe to meet people you want in your professional life.”
Another user comments, “I love how easy the app is to use. I have been looking for a site to network & connect with others, but couldn’t find one that wasn’t a dating app. This is the perfect app and is just what I was looking for and needed.”
So what are you waiting for? Download Shapr and start building your professional network. You can meet professional gurus and mentors, potential employers and future employees, and friends in your field. Just remember, pictures of your business assets are not encouraged.