Clever new networking app puts experts at your fingertips
Founded on the notion of lending a helping hand, Silo opens a door to forming meaningful professional connections.
Professional networking is hard – and it can be time consuming. From LinkedIn to Quora to Twitter, there are many ways to connect with others, but how do you make those connections meaningful? And more important, how can you ensure that you’re not lost in the pile?
Now there is Silo, a mobile-first app that aims to become the go-to source for professional networking by offering industry-specific ways to form professional connections. The company was founded by Israeli entrepreneurs Moshik Raccah and Tal Moshayov and has offices in the U.S. in Silicon Valley and in Israel in Tel Aviv. The majority of Silo’s early users are in the high-tech industry.
Raccah told From the Grapevine that Silo was developed to leverage the core of professional networking – the give and take. “When you really want to connect with people in a professional away, you help them," he says. "If you’re good at it, people will want to help you back. We created a network that allows people to help others in a meaningful way – not just by exchanging business cards.”
To use Silo, you first have to download the app onto your mobile device, and then you’ll have access to both the mobile and desktop versions. Next you need to join one of approximately 200 current groups (or start your own) and add a few followers.
Silo allows you to sign in with your LinkedIn account and will also help you find friends and colleagues that are already using the service. Besides the many startup and high-tech groups, several top-tier universities have also added alumni groups, including Harvard, Wharton and Stanford. And finally – ask your new group or network a question.
Raccah says that during the development phase, they found out that people are more than willing to help; the problem is that people are afraid to ask. “We wanted to make it easier to tell your network what you’re looking for.”
Silo’s feed keeps unanswered questions at the top to encourage answers, rather than rank them according to the date posted.
We here at From The Grapevine tried it out, and posted an "ask": Looking for an active Silo user to comment on the app for an article. We got more than a dozen responses by the end of the day. Once we’d connected with a handful of them, we closed the ask to prevent overflowing our inbox with positive impressions of the service.
Adi Bittan, an Israeli entrepreneur and the co-founder of startup Ownerlistens.com, was one of the first to respond. She told us she uses Silo for a variety of activities, from industry advice to feedback about a certain product or feature.
“Silo has been very effective at getting me answers to my questions and requests," she says. "It turns out there’s always someone among my friends or friends of friends that has some experience or knowledge in the issue I posted. You can’t get more targeted info or help than that.”
An important aspect of the app is help finding a job. “When we think back to why people network in the first place, it’s to hire or get hired,” Raccah told us. “When people in your network ask, that could be an opportunity for you.”
Silo launched in private beta in June 2014 and quietly became available to the public this summer. Raccah says the formal launch will come sometime next year, once the company is satisfied all of the key elements are in place, including search and a better way to sort through public groups.
Silo does not currently offer direct messaging between users – we first connected with Raccah via Twitter – but that could also be a feature that will arrive before the formal launch.
Donna Griffith, founder and CEO of Invisu, a corporate storytelling service for potential investors, responded succinctly to our question about Silo: “I think it has brilliantly blown the top off of a network and the power it holds.”
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