Successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they have help. Whether that help comes in the form of a dynamite sales director, a compassionate co-founder, or a humble mentor, there is virtually no entrepreneur who climbs to the top alone.
So how do you meet these essential connections to help you build your business or further your career?
Meet Shapr, a free app that introduces relevant, nearby professionals who are up for a cup of coffee. The app is not just for entrepreneurs—it’s useful for professionals at every stage of their career.
Whether searching for your next hire, hunting for the right adviser to help you grow your ideas or mapping a career change, Shapr uses your self-selected interests (such as #startups or #marketing), location and industry to suggest 15 or so people a day you might find interesting. Just swipe right on the people you want to meet. When a match is made, you can message your new connection to decide on a place to grab coffee or a time to Skype. Shapr’s priority is introducing quality people who are open-minded, helpful and curious.
With more than 1 million users, the app has produced some meaningful exchanges that have helped to pivot and grow various businesses and careers.
We caught up with Sysamone Phaphon, the CEO of film distribution platform FilmHero, and an avid Shapr user. Based in San Francisco, Phaphon left a career in health care to design her dream app, which was originally focused on introducing moviegoers who liked the same genres. This career shift required Phaphon to build an entirely new network to support her business. After a few weeks of balancing evening networking events with being a single mother, Phaphon told a friend how labor intensive and unproductive most networking events felt. Her friend suggested Shapr.
“I started off chatting with a few matches while still in my pajamas,” says Phaphon. “In that moment, I knew this app was going to make networking so much more convenient for me. I was hooked.”
Shapr continued to play a critical role in her business as Phaphon traveled to Los Angeles. Over coffee, one of Phaphon’s matches suggested a much larger need in the film industry— help with distribution for independent filmmakers. Conversations with other Shapr users continued to validate this need, and Phaphon pivoted her original idea to a service that helps filmmakers book screenings of their work and market these events to potential audience members and buyers.
“Shapr helped me build connections with the right people,” says Phaphon. “I was at the intersection of two new industries and didn’t know where to start and who to talk to. Now I have strong networks in both industries and I’ve met tons of collaborators. Shapr is a game changer when it comes to networking.”
Shapr helped Phaphon gain useful perspective on her new industry, and later find partnerships and investors for her business. She is just one of many professionals who have used Shapr to further their careers.
So what are you waiting for? Download Shapr to find that professional connection that just may change your life.