It’s probably hard to get people enthusiastic about another service that lets you build a professional profile online. But that isn’t stopping Enthuse.me from giving it a go. The startup, based in London’s “Silicon Roundabout”, recently launched a public Beta of its one-page profile creator that targets the self-employed, small business owners, and other kinds of individuals who want to build and promote their personal brand online.
At first glance, competitors would appear to be services like About.me or Flavors.me, which, like Enthuse.me, also consolidate a user’s various web presences and online identities into a single, well-designed page, although a more direct competitor is probably something like Zerply.
To begin creating your own Enthuse.me page, you first pick a username, which also forms the basis for your Enthuse.me web address (e.g. enthuse.me/sohear), and sign up manually or via LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook login. Next you upload an avatar and fill out a short bio defining your expertise, which acts as your personal pitch and appears at the very top of your profile page.
You then populate the rest of your Enthuse.me page with links to and content from your various online presences, such as your career history pulled in from LinkedIn, your follower stats from Twitter, or your Klout score from Klout.
Then comes the more creative part. Using Enthuse.me’s various modules, you add and showcase more content from the web or created and uploaded specifically for your Enthuse.me profile, demonstrating what you are good at and any past projects or achievements. This might be media coverage, blog posts you’ve written, YouTube videos, photos or other visual media.
Finally, you can link to and recommend up to 5 other Enthuse.me profiles to check out — your “A-list” experts — which acts as a form of association and a way to encourage you to invite others to join the service. Overall, the resulting page, though nicely designed, is fairly minimalistic and lacks the customizability looks-wise of other online profile creators, which could be both a good and bad thing depending on your own taste for these things.
Longer-term, the company plans to add social networking features, potentially encroaching a little more on professional networks such as LinkedIn. This might also form the basis for a “knowledge marketplace” that lets users, whose bread and butter is selling services under their own personal brand, to use the site to sell their time or other wares, with Enthuse.me taking a small cut of any transaction.
Of course, that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves and is a far cry from what exists today, both in terms of functionality and the needed network effects. Scale, and a ton of it, will probably be required first. And in an already crowded space, that will undoubtedly be Enthuse.me’s biggest challenge, no matter how enthusiastically the startup or its backers — the company has raised around £1 million in funding from MLC50 — tries to meet it.