The initial waves of the coronavirus pandemic crushed many small businesses into permanent closure but at the same time empowered or gave birth to startups that were determined to harness the power of technology to add value to people’s lives.
PeerPull is one of those businesses that emerged stronger from the unfolding health crisis to bring back the lost human touch to our interactions and communication.
Founded in 2020, PeerPull has embarked on a mission to provide a “digital coworking” platform for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other professionals who are keen to connect with people outside their industry or circle.
Joan Alavedra, the company’s co-founder, told Via News that the current state of events has made it difficult for a lot of people to go to coworking spaces and get a community feel.
“PeerPull digitalizes coworking spaces and brings the benefits of belonging to a community online,” he said, adding that the initiative helps connect users through chat sessions and video rooms.
“This way, if you are working on your own, you can still benefit from belonging to a coworking community, have coffee breaks with your peers, clarify your doubts, or find a person or an agency that can help you overcome your roadblocks,” Joan explained.
Bringing the agencies and freelancers closer to founders creates a close-knit environment of collaboration, he added.
The platform, which promises to find “peers for everyone”, has already connected hundreds of professionals.
The process to use the platform is straightforward: Users need to describe their background and capabilities and join existing rooms or create their own to discuss the topics that are of interest to them. They can get together with other peers on sporadic or scheduled calls.
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PeerPull’s co-founder says they want to help improve the networking ecosystem that is currently “broken” and “lacks transparency.”
Joan had initially planned to connect people offline, but the COVID-19 outbreak completely transformed that idea and led to the development of a fully online platform.
On how the coronavirus has changed networking, he said one obvious fact is that more people are using online communication tools and professionals have been forced to get good at “camera-to-camera networking”.
A lot of people will also need to master the art of “cold emailing” to accomplish their career goals, he said, adding that those who take this opportunity to improve their communication skills will be able to stay ahead of the competition.
Is LinkedIn Dead?
Asked if he thinks LinkedIn is dead, Joan said he does not think it is and advised professionals to keep their profiles updated there.
However, he noted that the power of one-on-one connections and cross-sector networks should not be underestimated.
“One challenge faced by many professionals is that LinkedIn is limited when it comes to expanding their network and knowledge beyond a certain industry or sector,” Joan said, adding that PeerPull wants to fill the existing gap.
On what networking sites should do to stay relevant, the entrepreneur said they should adapt to users’ needs and make sure that they are adding value to their experience.
He predicts that more specialized and industry-specific networking platforms will come to existence and that there will be a lot of collaboration between smaller platforms.
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To build trust with users, PeerPull’s co-founder says the virtual networking space should be made more secure through adding features such as feedback collection or the ability to ban users.
When asked how he sees the future of networking, Joan said he thinks the future of the industry will continue to be mainly led by headhunters and hiring managers as businesses are seeking to lower down their employment costs while getting access to skilled talents.