Of more than 875 million users LinkedIn is a household name in the world of professional networking in more than 200 countries. But as the platform grew, it shifted its focus to a different source of content consumption and production. Now a young startup wants to disrupt that.
Peer list aims to fill this gap by providing a space for professionals to find and connect with each other based on their expertise and qualifications.
It creates a one-stop destination for professionals to showcase their work experiences and education and connect with like-minded individuals in their field. Users on the platform can integrate work-attribution sites such as GitHub, Dribbble, Substack, and Gumroad. They can also get their work experience and education to add an extra layer of authenticity.
The platform uses a person’s business email to verify their work experience. To verify educational credentials, users upload their student badge or ID or use their institution’s assigned email ID to verify their profiles. The startup has plans to verify users’ past work experiences and education by expanding the verification feature over time.
“Since many people have distributed their work across platforms, and developers and designers and technical professionals often write articles about Substrack and share code on GitHub, we wanted to enable them to build a profile where they can showcase all of their work” said Akash Bhadange, co-founder and CEO of Peerlist, in an interview.
Profiles with verified details are available for public viewing in resume and work portfolio formats. Users must sign in if they want to message a user or receive their contact information.
Bhadange, a former product and UX designer, founded Peerlist in August 2021 with his wife Yogini Bende. Bende, who has experience as a front-end developer, oversees the startup’s engineering-related duties.
Bhadange claimed that Peerlist has grown its user base to over 20,000 people – 60% of which are verified – without any marketing spend. The startup plans to spend some of the new money on marketing. It is also looking to expand its technical team from its existing five-person product development team – alongside a dedicated marketing and sales team.
Peerlist hopes to have more than a million users by the end of the year, Bhadange said.
Peerlist’s current user base consists of individuals with experience ranging from early to mid-senior level. The startup said it is working to make the platform attractive to senior professionals.
To satisfy more users, Peerlist plans to add a feature that will allow individuals to set up custom domains for their profiles.
At this time, Peerlist does not have a monetization model. However, the platform aims to monetize its verified user base by charging companies looking for professionals based on their work experience and education.
As it scales, Peerlist has attracted some investment from many industry insiders. The Delaware-registered startup, with an office in Pune, said it raised $1.1 million in a seed funding round led by HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah.
Other participating investors include Plotch.ai founder and CEO Manoj Gupta, Moonfrog co-founder and CTO Kumar Puspesh, Dukaan co-founder and CEO Suumit Shah and entrepreneur and angel investor Mohan Rao.
The startup plans to use the money to add a host of additional features. One allows companies to showcase their branding and tech stack on the platform. According to Bhadange, professionals using these profiles can find more details about a company’s founders and other team members and also see their contributions, as written on blogs or code contributions that appear on GitHub. This will give the professionals a better understanding of the company’s culture and technical capabilities and help them make more informed decisions about job openings, he said.
In addition, Peerlist has plans to help angel investors verify their investment history in startups on the platform, making it easier for professionals to connect with and secure funding from these investors. Bhadange said this particular development is currently in an idea stage but has the potential to add tremendous value.
“The world is ready for some innovation when it comes to online professional networking,” HubSpot’s Shah said in a statement. “Peerlist rises to this challenge with a product that is built for the modern age and feels like a breath of fresh air. I invested because this is the need of the hour for this industry, and the timing is perfect for such a disruption.”
Prior to the seed funding, Peerlist had raised $25,000 small angel funding from ModernLoop engineering lead Vishwesh Jirgale and Postman product engineering head Akshay Deo in October 2021.