Traditional networking events can be expensive, time-consuming and sometimes fail to connect you with relevant contacts for your business. This is where 85by55 comes in.
As a self-proclaimed ‘Chatroulette meets LinkedIn’ 85by55 offers users a platform for networking comprised of a seemingly random video pairing which lasts just two minutes in order for users to create ‘meaningful interactions’ in the most efficient amount of time. Intelligent programming ensures that you won’t be matched with the same person twice, and will only be connected to those who match your preferences. Once the two minutes are up you can choose whether or not to connect with your new contact via LinkedIn and other social networks. Registration is free, and once you’re logged in and have set your filters, you’re free to network from the comfort of your home or at work in your lunch hour; the choice is yours.
You may be wondering where the name 85by55 originated from. Co-founders Shed Simove and Jonathan Fren chose the name because the average size of a business card is 85 by 55 millimetres. ‘Ahhh’ I hear you say, ‘catchy’.
85by55 offers a unique way to connect with like-minded people – in theory. But the open nature of the website could be an invitation for improper use despite the startup encouraging users to sign up with a LinkedIn profile in an attempt to abolish such behaviour.
Shed Simove, once a TV producer and now an entrepreneur, explains one tactic used by the company in order to promote 85by55. April Fool’s Day saw the launch of www.NigeriaGoogle.com, just a month after the launch of 85by55. The website got almost 100,000 hits in just a few hours which subsequently generated 15,000 clicks through to their own website, thus boosting awareness and spreading the company name. The site got removed but Simove is currently fighting to get it back up.
In the future 85by55 will offer a premium option which will require a small cost for the user whilst simultaneously offering an optimised service thus generating increased revenue for the company. The business also hopes to have their software embedded into partner websites thus increasing its use.
In theory Simove and Fren have created a unique and exciting opportunity for professionals to meet with other professionals in the hope to improve their businesses and create a web of useful contacts. However, perhaps 85by55 lacks practicality – we’ll just have to wait and see.