We’re safely in the Age of Tinder 2.0. The popular app, which allows users to make split second decisions about potential dates by swiping right or left, has ushered in not only a fleet of similar dating apps, but a second-wave crop of apps that are taking the concept beyond dating and into professional networking.
The Finnish startup Meshly, which launched an updated version of its iOS and Android app today, is just one of many startups positioning itself as the ‘Tinder of networking.’ Using location information, the service connects users to a range of nearby business opportunities posted by other Meshly members.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a co-founder for your next techventure, or just want to discuss some marketing ideas over drinks,” the company said in a press release.
Like Tinder, users are matched if both parties swipe right. Unlike Tinder, evaluations center on the professional opportunity on the table, not on romantic interest (so, looks).
Meshly is far from the first company to try and crack the proximity professional networking market. There are a host of older apps out there all hawking the same basic concept, including Let’s Lunch, Networkr and Weave.
The idea is intriguing. As mobile dating becomes more commonplace and unconventional work schedules mean networking continues to bleed into personal life, apps that take Tinder’s approach and apply it to professional contacts make a kind of warped sense. “We have seen the need for meshly many times when looking to find great people or trying to start businesses abroad without an existing network,” CEO Niko Porkka said in a press release.
While details on the app are scarce, it seems to be positioning itself as a casual vehicle to meet other like-minded business professionals, an event finder and a place to search for freelancers and other experts who can provide tangible services, presumably for a fee.
Related: Lyft Is Playing in Tinder's Sandbox
Meshly’s ability to position itself as a service for more than just casual professional meetups may be key to its success, however. Finding a business connection is, for better or worse, likely less of a snap-judgment decision than finding a date. Tinder’s beauty (and some would argue, it’s problem) is its simplicity of use: it’s a glorified game of hot or not. Deciding whether or not to talk shop over drinks, though? That’s a harder decision to make with a single swipe.
Which perhaps helps explain why so far, we’ve yet to see a ‘Tinder for networking’ app take root and thrive. (Although I can see the rise of a network that curates its userbase, a la dating sites like The League, which screens all of its members.)
Tell Us: If a proximity-based professional networking app was able to develop a quality userbase, would you consider taking a swipe-right approach to networking?