Shapr App Founder Ludovic Huraux Will Change The Way You Network

"We empower people to make the best possible connections with people they wouldn’t meet otherwise."

Ludovic Huraux founded networking app Shapr because he wanted to make meaningful career connections easier to build. It's safe to say that he's the ultimate people person. "I truly believe that meeting new people is one of the most joyous, fulfilling and inspiring actions you can take in life," he told A Plus. That's why he's made it his life mission to help others have the same positive experience. With nearly two million users, his app, Shapr, is quickly changing the way people are meeting others in their field. 

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Ironically, it was building one of France's top dating websites, Attractive World, that eventually inspired Huraux to create an app that helps people set up purely professional, non-romantic coffees. "People join dating apps because they want to make meaningful connections with people they wouldn't encounter in their existing social circles," Huraux explained. "Networking apps do the same. We enable people to make the best possible connections with people they wouldn't meet otherwise." 

Shapr founder Ludovic Huraux 
Ludovic Huraux, founder of Shapr Photo courtesy of Shapr

While creating a networking app based on the same swiping format as dating apps may seem simple, it required a more complex algorithm. "On a dating app, you are just considering someone's gender and preferences," Huraux explained. "On Shapr, we have to take into consideration someone's seniority, goals, interests, and industry — all of which are factors that evolve regularly for professionals." To do this, the app allows users to input their specific interests and aspirations. Shapr then combines that information with their professional experience, location, and swiping behavior to provide personalized recommendations of the most relevant people to meet. 

He and his team also had to make the app work for a wide variety of professionals with differing needs, from fundraising to hiring to just making friends in a new industry. That's why they ended up creating two modes: Search and Discover. The Discover Mode lets the algorithm find the best people on the app for you to meet, while Search Mode puts the power in your hands to filter by location, job title, interest or industry. "Shapr allows you to search for people who are interested in the same topics as you, not just those with a particular job title," he explained. "Using either mode, you can swipe the right people in less than two minutes a day, so you have plenty of time to meet your matches face to face." 

Shapr networking app
Photo courtesy of Shapr 

"We created Shapr to make the networking process more seamless and inspiring, so that professionals spend less time looking for the right connections and more time building those relationships," Huraux explained. By taking the hassle out of networking, he wants professionals to realize how helpful and fun it can be. Ultimately, Huraux hopes to change the global mindset toward networking so it becomes a regular habit, like going to the gym or eating a balanced diet.

So far, it's working. According to Huraux, he and the Shapr team frequently receive emails and messages from professionals sharing how they met their co-founders, their mentors, their investors, and even their best friends on the app. Shapr connections have helped users land job opportunities, expand their creative portfolios, secure board members, and build networks in new cities after moving or new industries after changing careers. 

Shapr networking app
Photo courtesy of Shapr

But networking isn't just about making new connections, it's about making those new connections last. Huraux encourages people to focus on how they can be helpful to a new contact. "At the end of every coffee, if the question doesn't come up organically, ask your new connection if you can make an introduction or send a resource their way in a follow-up email," he explains. "Giving without expectation of return is the best way to start building a meaningful relationship. You will be someone your contact wants to help in return if the right opportunity comes his or her way." 

He also advises that the best time to network is before you need a specific connection. "Start building real friendships with professionals in your field or those working on projects that interest you, long before you are asking for a favor or an investment from these individuals," he notes. "You will get your foot in the door for new opportunities and be endlessly inspired by the insight offered from these conversations." To that end, he suggests approaching every networking conversation with two questions: "What can I learn?" and "What can I give?" 

Ludovic Huraux
Photo courtesy of Shapr

They're also the questions he's asking himself as he continues to improve the networking tools Shapr currently offers and launches new features. He and his team hope to find the answers by expanding into more international cities to learn how Shapr can help professionals from all over the world make not just career-changing, but life-changing, connections.

So who will you meet on Shapr? Download the app and make your first connection.

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