London entrepreneurs win the race to launch video based networking site


Two London entrepreneurs are looking to conquer the video networking space with the launch of their startup, 85by55

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Screen shot of 85by85 MEET page London entrepreneurs launch video based networking site

Shed Simove, inventor, author and LondonlovesBusiness.com columnist, and his partner Jonathan Fren, the tech “genius” behind the project, have created a platform for businesspeople to meet and make new business contacts, face-to-face, over video chat.

Each video ‘meet’ is random and lasts strictly two minutes. The fixed time limit is imposed so that both parties cannot ‘click off’ and is designed to give time for a meaningful interaction.

Simove, CEO of 85by85, describes the networking site as “the lovechild of ChatRoulette and LinkedIn.”

“Our feature-rich platform offers any businessperson the engaging unpredictability of not knowing who they’ll meet next, with the predictability of knowing that the person they meet will be a professional who could enhance their business,” he says.

After each ‘meet’, users can easily connect on their personal social networks, simply by clicking their mouse.

To ensure the site attracts professionals only, users can only join with a validated pay-for email address or if they have a LinkedIn account.

“We’ve tried to make it inclusive but selective,” explains Simove. “And there is of course a report user facility in place.”

Users can opt for a totally random experience, whereby they have no control over who they meet, or for the filter option, which allows them to specify keywords and a location.

Simove, who is also known as the “Ideas Man”, after a book he published of the same name, believes the launch couldn’t have come sooner. “Video chat space is the next big thing,” he told LondonlovesBusiness.com.

Citing Airtime, a soon to launch realtime video chat platform created by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker – (founders of Napster and original Facebook investors) – Simove believes 85by85 will be unique as it targets businesspeople only.

“I think their site will be focused more around dating.”

So far the London-based entrepreneurs have invested £8,000 into the business and are sourcing more investment. Airtime is thought to have received $8m of investment so far.

“We’re very proud of ourselves for doing it first,” said Simove. “It’s taken us 10 months and we believe the technology we’ve built is already worth £50-100,000.”