Work-oriented video chat platform LiveNinja is launching out of private beta after raising a $500k seed round, the Miami-based startup and SuperConf runner-up announced today. As you may remember, LiveNinja uses its technology to let anyone have an online consultation with a “ninja,” whose area of expertise can vary from medicine, law and finance to fashion, fitness and cooking.
The sign-up process for experts is quite simple; during its beta testing period, LiveNinja decided to use a similar approach to Airbnb’s, which relies on its community rather than pre-screenings. To join the platform, ninjas simply need to list their skills, which LiveNinja can also pull from LinkedIn. They can then set up their rate, and notify users of their weekly availability for video chat sessions. Once they get their first review, a “verified” stamp will appear on their profile, which will start to be featured on the site’s homepage.
From the end user’s perspective, this is a convenient way to get access to a wide range of experts, usually for a lower rate than what they would charge offline. On the other hand, the platform also represents an opportunity for individuals to monetize their skills and boost their income, while only giving up a 20% portion of their earnings to LiveNinja.
According to LiveNinja’s CEO and co-founder, Will Weinraub, this solution could have a positive socio-economic impact:
“The number of skillful individuals across the world that are unemployed and unable to produce income is exorbitant. However, we feel if we can modernize the traditional concepts of employment by providing the proper tools, we can eliminate the barriers to both job and income creation. LiveNinja effectively allows people to create and accelerate these jobs by empowering any individual with all the tools they need for an online service-based business.”
While other startups have been developing a similar concept, execution sets LiveNinja apart. In exchange for its commission, it provides users with a well-designed, customizable video chat platform, which works as a virtual liveroom for online sessions. At the moment, it is only available on the Web, but LiveNinja plans to launch an iPhone app by early next year.
In addition, it hopes to create a community in which experts can also become clients; once they have earned revenues, they can choose to either cash out or use the credit to purchase the skills of another fellow ninja. You can now sign up to start monetizing your skills or hire experts.