How This App Is Making Networking Less Work
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As we’ve all heard, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Discover.ly wants to supercharge your ability to get to know people. The San Francisco-based company launched in October 2014 with a free eponymous app that works within Gmail to show all your email recipients’ social accounts and updates in a sidebar. The goal: to leverage commonalities among social media networks and make it easier to discover the personal hook that drives successful networking.
Discover.ly founder Theodore Summe says he built the technology to streamline the networking power of social media. “The idea was that we have access to social data, but it’s all siloed in respective social [sites] and platforms,” he says. “We save time by showing users the needles in the haystack in one place.”
The technology requires users to download a browser add-on for Google Chrome. With this, users can access more information about common social media connections with the people they email. For instance, Discover.ly enables users to see mutual Facebook friends with a particular colleague on LinkedIn, or see Facebook and LinkedIn information from Twitter contacts.
Discover.ly even gauges the context of relationships—in this case, the number and types of social media interactions between connections. This means users can determine the quality of a contact’s relationships and attempt to leverage only the strongest connections.
“Anyone in sales knows that cold calls are a tough conversion,” Summe says. “If you can get a warm intro to the right people, you’re going to increase your conversion rates and get more out of every ask.”
The inspiration for Discover.ly emerged late last decade, when Summe was working on the M&A team at Salesforce. He was building social apps in his spare time and set out to create one to maximize the value of relationships. His friends at Salesforce liked the idea so much they encouraged him to leave to create it. With an undisclosed investment from Salesforce and others, including Atlas Venture, Summe put together a seed round of $750,000 and got to work in 2013. Since going live, the technology has been logging about 5,300 active users per week.
However users decide to leverage Discover.ly, experts have already embraced the idea. Cali Yost, a Madison, N.J.-based workplace strategist, says the technology can help squeeze networking into an otherwise jam-packed schedule. “You stand a better chance of connecting with someone your contacts know,” she says. “This makes it a valuable tool.”
Summe’s plans moving forward include enhancing the company’s data set and speeding up search times. He says the six-employee company recently embarked on a second round of funding for $1.5 million. As for revenue, Summe and his investors are looking ahead to developing Discover.ly into an enterprise tool that they would charge companies to use. He has no idea when that might happen, but at least he won’t have to worry about how to connect with the right people.