Linked to his belief that current professional networking tech is failing users, founder of freelance management system Kalo Peter Johnson has created a new professional social network called Polywork.
The product is being launched with the help of $3.5 million in Seed funding. This is being done gradually through a waiting list system.
TechCrunch reported that the round was led by Caffeinated Capital’s Ray Tonsing, with the support of tech entrepreneurs including Steve Chen of YouTube and Kevin Lin of Twitch, as well as other angel investors.
In a recent piece for Medium, Johnson explained that the premise behind Polywork was “that people are more than the labels society has placed upon them, such as job titles and the schools they went to.”
“These titles are arbitrary labels that make us look indistinguishable from one another.
“How can you possibly differentiate yourself — or find the right person to collaborate with — when you’re reduced to simply “product designer,” “software engineer,” “architect” or “marketing manager?”
Instead, Polywork empowers users to share elements of their personality – for instance ‘dog lover’, ‘photographer’, or ‘book worm’ – or share where they are or aren’t skilled — for example ‘bad footballer’ or ‘no coder’ — using tags, which are then placed at the top of their profile.
Users can also share updates about their professional or personal lives on their profile, which others can see in an engaging newsfeed that aims to keep the ‘social’ in the social network.
This highly gamified, informal version of professional networking is primarily aimed at millennials. It allows them to easily showcase their range of skills and passions to their contacts, as well as acknowledge the multiple different jobs in various sectors they will have in their lifetime.
Tonsing said: “There’s a new generation that wants to work and live on their own terms, not destined for a single track identity.
“The pandemic accelerated this trend and humans are reevaluating who they are and what’s most important to them in life. Polywork will usher in and facilitate this permanent shift in human behavior.”
Johnson concluded: “We hope to be able to empower people to express what’s important to them, and enable them to take professional paths more colorful, unique and different than they once thought possible.
“Because when people use their agency to make the life for themselves that they want — without feeling suppressed, embarrassed or intimidated — only good can come of it.”