Home Zerply: a Non-Corporate LinkedIn, Built For and By the Web Generation

Zerply: a Non-Corporate LinkedIn, Built For and By the Web Generation

Despite its recent IPO, there’s a strong feeling among many people online that the professional network LinkedIn doesn’t quite work for them. Despite its millions of users, it isn’t necessarily easy to find people on LinkedIn that you’d want to work for you. And just as importantly, young people in particular feel as though you have to “put on a suit and tie and become part of a corporate structure” in order to participate.

That’s the sense that Christofer Karltorp had when he and Taaniel Jakobs were looking to build and scale their Web development work. It was hard to find good people and it was challenging to confirm who people were and if they had the skills they boasted. And so the two have founded Zerply, a new site that is, in Karltorp’s words, “still professional, but more playful and creative.”

Gone are the rather drab profiles that you can find on LinkedIn. Gone are the admonitions that you’ve only filled out your profile 63% because you don’t have a college degree, for example. Instead, Zerply lets you build a more personalized profile, one that looks rather reminiscent of the personal splash pages on About.me.

The site also recognizes that you aren’t going to necessarily duplicate your portfolio on a professional social network. Rather, you can link your various social media profiles to your Zerply profile, so that people can view your Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Forrst, Quora, GitHub profiles, and so on.

Kaltorp says that he feels as though LinkedIn is very much about the “six degrees of separation” model of networks. Instead, Zerply wants to provide more of a discovery aspect so that you aren’t just reliant on locating people based on job titles or company names or colleague-of-a-colleague type introductions. You can connect with people professionally by interests, not just by employment history. “The Web is becoming a more social place,” says Kaltorp, noting that a site like Twitter has really lowered the barriers for people being able to communicate with, say, an executive of a particular company.

Zerply is also building out its peer-to-peer endorsement system to give the “thumbs up” to those whose skills you can verify.

It’s a big challenge to take on a company like LinkedIn, and Zerply is just getting started, having only left beta last week. The company is one of the participants in the latest round of 500 Startupsaccelerator program.

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