Last fall, social analytics startup SocialRank sold its product and business to Trufan so the team could focus on something new: a professional social network. Today they will be officially revealed Upstream to the public.
To be clear, CEO Alex Taub told me he’s not trying to replace LinkedIn – he admitted that thanks to network effects, “If you want to try turning off LinkedIn, you can’t turn it off. ”
Instead, the goal is to create something that fulfills another need. Where LinkedIn works primarily as an online resume and Rolodex, Upstream aims to help users build the connections and relationships that are important to their careers – something that is badly needed at a time when large-scale meetups and conferences are not really possible (although we are certainly trying to take the virtual Equivalent to create at ProWellTech). .
“This is the place for your professional social life,” said Taub.
Upstream’s first product focused on professional groups and communities, allowing users to post so-called professional asks, for example when they want to hire someone for a specific position or need an introduction to another company.
Taub suggested that with Upstream’s next product, Upstream Events, where Upstream would host a guest speaker, things really got going. The participants were then brought together for five-minute individual video chats with the other participants in the event.
Upstream says it has hosted more than 100 events, with 72% of people attending one event going on to another.
As the team has developed several products (and some of them we’ve already covered), they outline today’s broader vision while introducing some new features.
Whereas communities were previously shared using a private, unlisted link, you can now search all the different communities in one discovery area. At the same time, community organizers can still control who joins by approving or rejecting new members.
There is also a new flavor of events called “Office Hours” that allows users to schedule structured time for virtual one-on-one conversations with anyone interested in speaking to them. These sessions can be publicly listed or not listed so that you only share them via email or within a specific community.
in the a blog postTaub noted that he met his SocialRank / upstream co-founder and CTO Michael Schonfeld through Ohours.org and they are trying to repeat that experience here:
Suppose you are the CMO of a large company and you want to give your employees the opportunity to meet 1: 1. The idea of coordinating the individual planning of ten-minute blocks with the help of your Outlook calendar and your e-mail address is not attractive. However, upstream lets you choose which 30-minute block you want to offer and how long you want the sessions to be. You decide to use your office hours every other Friday at 2 p.m. ET for the rest of the year. The event is set up like this and can be seamlessly passed on to anyone you want to offer office hours to.
In fact, Taub’s Post lists more than 30 different people who already have office hours on Upstream, including the New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz, Foursquare Co-Founder / Expa Partner Naveen Selvadurai and Amazon Photo Product Leader Nate Westheiemer.
Upstream also announces that it has raised an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding from 8-Bit Capital, Human Ventures, Basement Fund, NYVP, and various angel investors.
Looking ahead, Taub said the next big priority is launching a web version of Upstream (which is currently available through the mobile app) and continuing to create live experiences, asynchronous experiences and features that offer real value .
“We envision a future where professionals come upstream for an event or ask and take advantage of the compelling opportunities that make upstream an energizing and beneficial experience for them,” he wrote.