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Swipe Right to Connect with Other Professionals


Kelsey Davis, Manager, Digital Media, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
Swiping left and right is no longer only for dating apps. Consumer Technology Association (CTA) member Valor Connect is using the familiar process of some dating apps for networking instead. Using your LinkedIn profile, Valor Connect helps match you with professionals who you may be interested in meeting or speaking with.
 
We had a chance to speak with Andy Fine from Valor Connect about the app and what is next for the company.
 
How did you first come up with the idea for Valor Connect?
 
I was at a conference in Philadelphia. The evening cocktails and networking session had just begun. The air was filled with chatter and the smell of tasty chicken patay and various other scrumptious hors d'oeuvres. I walked confidently into the room, the pockets on my blue blazer stocked with business cards, elevator pitch prepped, and excitement in my eyes.
 
And so it began. I worked the room, speaking with as many people as I could (it’s tiring after a while!), seeing what valuable connections I could make. After about an hour or so, I found myself leaning against the bar, waiting for a drink, slightly frustrated. Five of the six conversations I just had were with attorneys. Nothing wrong with attorneys, but we already had two in our company; we didn’t need any more. We needed to find investors, potential partners, advisors and mentors.
 
I leaned back against the bar, cold drink in my left hand, and looked out over the room of 300+ people. I knew there was plenty of opportunity out there. I knew there were people I could really benefit from meeting in that crowd. But here’s the thing: I couldn’t tell who the right people to meet were just by looking at them. I thought to myself, “There has to be an easier way.”
 
That night, I went back to the drawing board, retracing my steps as well as the networking process. I broke down the process of making new connections with people I didn’t know, trying to decipher what could make “networking” more efficient. My “ah-ha” moment was when I saw an ad for eHarmony pop up on the TV. Dating isn’t all that different from professional networking. Why not use compatibility to connect the right people together for business purposes? And the idea for Valor Connect was born.
 
What problem were you trying to solve?
 
We believe professional opportunity is out there for everyone, but the challenges of finding and connecting with the right people is a roadblock that causes many of us to fall short of our full potential. We think it’s time for change.
 
The way we make new professional connections (with people we don’t yet know) hasn’t seen much innovation since the advent of the business card. Yes, you can send cold-connection requests on LinkedIn, and sometimes they do work, but more often than not, that tactic is ineffective and certainly inefficient.
 
Networking at events is a challenge for the 60 percent of people who identify as shy. Further, meeting the right people based on your current business goals is largely based on luck.
 
At Valor Connect, our mission is to take luck out of the networking equation and make finding the right people to connect with professionally as easy as tapping on your phone.
 
How does the technology behind the app work?
 
Our technology is based on three principles: simplicity, efficiency and effectiveness.
 
Your profile is automatically created by pulling the information from your LinkedIn profile, then you are able to identify tags that describe who you are professionally and the type of people you’re interested in meeting.
 
A proprietary algorithm scans the data for professional compatibility with other users, then each day a curated deck of potential matches are sent to you.
 
As you review each profile in your deck, you simply indicate if you’re interested in chatting with the person. When the interest is mutual, you’re both notified of the match and you can start a chat conversation right in the app.
 
What is next for Valor Connect?
 
We’re continuing to seek to improve the user experience and make the process of meeting the right people even more seamless. New features on the horizon include conversation starters, in-app calling with matches, conference agendas and location-based preferences.
 
We’re in the process of seeking a strategic partner who can help us acquire the technical and capital resources we need to propel this platform forward so that we can help millions of people around the world make new connections and find new opportunities they never knew existed.
 
Our app is 100 percent free to download and use and is available for iOS and Android. With more than 100,000 swipes logged, we’re now focusing on driving users to the app and raising awareness about the opportunities Valor Connect is creating for professionals across the country and around the world.

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