I recently downloaded the App shapr (as in shape your life). Shapr is a business born and raised in the NYC startup ecosystem with offices in NYC and Paris. For those not familiar, shapr is an online match making app for people interested in business. The idea is to find a cofounder, friend, investor, employee or maybe more.
In their own words:
Networking should be a joyful experience, because It’s about meeting new people. It’s not just a trick to generate more sales or find some humdrum job – we see it as a lifestyle.
Think of it as Tinder meets Angel.co or Linkedin. The concept behind the idea is simple and compelling. Enter your interests, put who you are looking to meet and each day you get matched with roughly 16 people who may be a potential match. According to the Wall Street Journal Shapr currently has 60,000 users in NYC and 300,000 users worldwide.
In order to start a conversation, both people must match, giving the app a very similar feel to Tinder. When I joined my hope was that I could meet some cool people and engage with some fellow entrepreneurs.
Overall, the experience was better than what I expected. Most people on the app seem to be pretty great. That being said every app designed to connect strangers online has a wide range of people you may meet.
Most people were friendly, open to talking and passionate about the work that they were doing.
I found that many of the entrepreneurs I met or talked with were in the early stages of starting their businesses. Of the business owners I spoke with many are looking for funding for a seed round and/or looking to bring on early hires. It is always great to get to meet other people chasing their passion and building their businesses.
Outside of entrepreneurs, I had some great interactions with sales representatives from businesses looking to grow and younger people looking for guidance in career or business.
I was pleasantly surprised to find most people were not pushy in their sales roles.
Overall, 90% of my experience was positive. However, I did find a few people who I think were trying to run some scams for funding. Although I didn’t dive too deep into the conversations, some “fundraising” plans seemed a bit off. Anything that starts out with the opportunity of investing in a Nigerian business generally throws a red flag up in my book.
I also found a few people who were pushing peer-to-peer marketing programs.
Two people sent almost the exact same text “My mentor (person name) is developing a business and expanding…. We work with Apple, Coach…. (5 more big name businesses)” Then finishes with “are you business minded/entrepreneurial” with the promise of building passive income in my spare time.
I am personally not a fan of MLM programs but to each their own (I guess).
I would recommend giving the app a try if you are in the startup world or interested in jumping into the startup community in NYC. I found most people on the App were in the early stages of their business and interested in connecting either by phone or in person. There is a good mix of people from business owners, to people looking for mentorship that you could connect with.
Like any place on the internet where you are meeting strangers use good judgment and if something feels a bit too good to be true it probably is. Then again, I may have missed out on a major investment opportunity from a Nigerian Prince.
Shapr is a NYC based business cofounded by Ludovic Huraux CEO & Jonathan Rogez Head of Product. Shapr has raised a total of $7 million in funding in two rounds; $3m in January 2015 and an additional $4 million in October 2016.
Josh Bobrowsky- CoFounder & CEO