The startup bills its service as a combination of LinkedIn and Facebook dedicated for the technology sector. Founder Labinot Bytyqi explained in an interview that LinkedIn is great for professionals, but it doesn’t offer collaboration, while Facebook’s social features are limited to our personal, rather than professional, lives.
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Solaborate launched its private beta back in April, backed by $1 million in seed funding.
The service actually resembles remote collaboration apps like Yammer and Convo, but without being limited to a single organization. Solaborate’s feature list includes audio and video calling, social integration (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+), a Q&A service, document sharing and more. It’s also reminiscent of Stack Overflow, but with less of an emphasis on development and coding.
In addition to individuals, companies can claim their profiles on Solaborate to interface with clients and partners. The service will provide scoring and analytics based on how users rank for engagement and activity on the service.
The decision to limit Solaborate to the technology industry is an industry one. Bytyqi says the startup will consider expanding its product to other verticals in the future, but it doesn’t have any immediate plans.
Bytyqi said the service will continue to be free for users, as the company has plans to monetize through advertising. Solaborate could also offer a white-labeled version for enterprises that want to use the software internally.
Solaborate has emerged as a powerful SaaS tool that comes packed with most of the best features of other social networks and virtual collaboration tools. The tech professional angle will keep it fairly niche, but it has a shot at catching on if it can gather enough momentum from users.
Still, Bytyqi said that beta testers have found themselves more efficient by not having to visit 10 different sites. However, the service is also at risk of feature overload. There’s certainly a case to be made for consolidating functionality into a single service, but combining the best aspects of specialized sites like LinkedIn and Quora could end up with all of the features but none of the magic.
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