Vaccines are coming, but the social distancing is here to stay for quite a while. While we wait, we can’t stop making new professional contacts. So, how do we get that done? Enter Cooper, an Amsterdam-based company (ok, this is already getting cool).
Cooper bills itself as a private professional network and is ready to mingle after a recently completed $2 million seed funding. The company was founded by CEO Robert Gaal and CTO Emiel van Liere.
Conversation with the CEO. The CEO Robert Gaal told The Scroll that he thinks that “the current generation of professional networks are really great directories. With Cooper, we're more focused on creating a network of people you trust, then adding as many connections as possible. We're using introductions as the foundation to make sure that people always meet each other with the right context. That allows us to always make a connection more meaningful from the start.” You have to be introduced to someone on the app before you can send that person a message, so unwanted messages don’t happen.
Apparently, the approach Cooper is taking is working
Gaal cited to us numerous examples of successful connections on the app: one user was laid off due to the pandemic and ended up being hired as a product specialist from a contact made on the app; a freelance photographer that was new to a city getting hired on a local gig and so on. There are cases in which people find mentors, get advice on their career path or just advice on a difficult task, according to Gaal.
No ads and no selling user’s data
This makes building your network on the app relatively worry free compared to other social media companies. Gaal says his plan for monetizing the app is by charging membership fees for advanced features like customizing your profile or promoting your requests more broadly in the app.
“At a time when the ability to connect is limited, Cooper is building a professional network fostering meaningful and substantive connections,” said Daniel Gulati, founding partner at Forecast Fund and former managing director at Comcast Ventures.