Foursquare, LinkedIn, Facebook and the vast majority of social networks logically gravitate around the user’s personal connections— the people you know. Unsocial, however, is a social network that doesn’t care about any of your friends. It’s focused on all the people you don’t know but probably should.
Launching this Monday morning at Venturebeat’s DiscoveryBeat, the Seattle-based startup (founded by Kiran Modak, Justin Richardson and Santosh Khare) is officially coming out of stealth and unveiling its iPhone and Android apps.
The mobile app, which is currently free to download, is geared towards professionals who want to connect with other professionals in similar or related fields, who happen to be nearby.
This is how it works: A user signs up via his or her LinkedIn account and Unsocial uses that profile to collect basic information on the person’s career. The user inputs “smart tags,” or rather keywords, that describe his/her professional background (for example I might include “journalist,” “writer,” “technology”) and the traits of people s/he is seeking.
When you’re ready to use the application, you simply open it up and click on the first button, “People,” which will show you relevant, nearby matches, if you find someone you want to connect with you can send a direct message through the platform (or e-mail/call them if that information is available). The service is ideal for large conferences or similar events where attendees have a limited amount of time to identify high-value contacts.
These networking events will be the key to the company’s profitability.
Although the mobile apps are free to download, Unsocial has created a structure to monetize what it refers to as “premium events.” Any organization can list an event on Unsocial, however, the startup will charge a fee for adding special features, such as a copy of the agenda, venue maps, speaker bios, the event’s Twitter feed, etc. In addition, Unsocial can also sell ad space around these premium events, if sponsors buy these ad slots, Unsocial will share the revenues with event organizers (hopefully giving the organizers a chance to recoup those premium fees).