Shapr, the professional networking app which was founded in Paris in 2015, announced today that it has raised $9.5 million from private investors. The investors include Dannon Chairman Franck Riboud, the Bouygues Family, and the Afflelou Family. Shapr will use the funds to hire 15 employees for its Paris and New York offices in the next 12 months and launch Shapr Premium, a paid subscription model.
Available for iOS and Android as a free app, Shapr now counts over half a million users and has generated more than 3 million professional matches in 2017 alone. Over the last year, Shapr has helped professionals in the US, UK, and France to find investors and cofounders, launch new businesses, and sign new job offers.
Shapr CEO and Co-Founder Ludovic Huraux stated: “Shapr offers inspiring connections to people who want to exchange ideas, learn from each other and work together on meaningful projects. Our crazy ambition is that every human takes one hour a week to meet someone new.”
To get started, users select up to ten interests such as #Startups, #AI or #GraphicDesign. People are also encouraged to add a few more personal interests such as #Meditation or #Running. The app then uses a proprietary algorithm to curate a daily selection of 15 profiles to browse, making the networking experience highly relevant, manageable and enjoyable.
Before the end of the year, Shapr Premium will launch, offering Shapr users more options to enhance their networking experience. Upcoming features include the option to browse up to 50 profiles per day, increasing the number of potential matches. In addition, the Premium version will include manual location settings, so that Shapr users can set up meetings before heading to a new destination or continue to network remotely while traveling. Additional features will be announced later this year.
The subscription service marks Shapr’s first steps towards monetizing the platform, with additional revenue channels planned to launch in 2018. Shapr will continue to offer a free version of the app that allows for 15 suggested profiles a day and unlimited messaging with matches.
Franck Riboud, the Chairman of Dannon and investor in Shapr explained: “The way people job search and manage their careers is rapidly changing, and they rely on their networks more than ever. Shapr understood that, and has created a product that offers a fresh and efficient way for professionals to connect. With 20,000 matches happening each day, the company is well positioned to become a leader in the professional networking space.”
Shapr previously raised 2 seed rounds of $3 million in 2015, and $4 million in 2016. The Shapr team will continue to invest in marketing in the US, UK, France. In addition, Shapr plans to invest in Canada, where a community of 25,000 users has emerged organically in the last three months.
Shapr has offices in Paris and New York, and has raised $16.5 million in funding to date. Three of the founders formerly co-founded a leading French premium dating website called Attractive World, which sold to Affinitas Group in October 2016.
By the way: If you’re interested to join a fast-growing startup like Shapr, make sure to check out the EU-Startups Job Board.