Business or pleasure? The apps and trends that are blurring boundaries (ZDNet)

The worlds of the office and the home are starting to merge through apps and physical co-living spaces.

Mixing business and pleasure has long been inadvisable. But the hard lines between the two are softening, with relationships based on shared personal and professional interests becoming more important to the careers of entrepreneurs and freelancers all over the world.

Despite French culture traditionally not lending itself to business and pleasure networking as easily as the US’s or UK’s, the country’s tech startup ecosystem is producing new models that are changing business networking.

“Business dating” app Shapr promotes networking as a lifestyle and made over made 7.5 million professional matches in 2017.

Ludovic_Huraux - Shapr
Ludovic Huraux is CEO of Shapr

Founded by French entrepreneur and CEO Ludovic Huraux, Shapr is most popular in New York and Paris, each with around 1.1 million matches in 2017, followed by London on 750,000 matches.

“The culture of networking in Paris is less strong, but in New York they know that their network is a big asset to career and that’s why they are very open to meeting someone just for a coffee,” says Huraux.

“Even if there if there is not a specific goal, you can accelerate your serendipity, and they really believe in the power of serendipity.”

Familiarity with dating apps such as Tinder, where users swipe right or swipe left to select or dismiss matches, has helped pave the way for Shapr’s rapid growth.

“In French culture, people are a little bit more correctional when they meet others, because they’re looking for a job, or when they are entrepreneurs, because they’re looking for investors, or for mentors. So it’s more complicated to promote this kind of networking,” he says. “But it’s changing, especially with the millennial generation.”

Shapr is now acquiring more than 80,000 signups a month with most users aged between 25 and 45 years. The changing professional culture and lifestyle preferences of millennials have played a significant part in Shapr’s rise in helping people avoid the usual networking barriers.

Read the rest of the article on ZDNet.

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