Professional social networks like LinkedIn have long been a mainstay of business, but what if you are more of a creative bent where LinkedIn looks pretty stuffy? In the US, Behance, a network for creatives raised $6.5m in the past and now the general idea has moved across the pond in the shape of The Dots.
Aimed at the so-called ‘No Collar’ professionals (creatives in T-shirts, if you will) has raised a £4m investment round, led by Hambro Perks, a ‘company builder’. Other notable investors include advertising agency gurus Sir John Hegarty and Tom Teichman, whose investment fund The Garage Soho invested, and female-focused investors Angel Academe.
The investment will be used to bolster The Dots’ position as ‘LinkedIn for creatives’ ahead of international expansion.
Launched in 2014 by Pip Jamieson, The Dots is aimed at an estimated 80 million ‘No Collar’ millennial professionals globally, who cost a lot to recruit. Like £11 billion annually, according to some figures.
The Dots claims to have a quarter of a million members and current clients include Google, Burberry, Sony Pictures, Viacom, M&C Saatchi, Warner Music, Tate, Discovery Networks and VICE amongst others.
The Dots facilitates networking by collecting data on full teams that create projects, making their network “high-trust”, since members have actually worked with another connected member.
They plan to put machine learning over this data to make personalized recommendations to clients and in the longer-term enabling full team hires, not just individuals.
“Everyone thinks LinkedIn is insurmountable, but that’s exactly why I believe it’s ripe for disruption,” says Jamieson. “LinkedIn was built around the networking needs of a traditional workforce of ‘White Collar’ professionals. However, there is a new professional class emerging, who have different networking preferences and need an alternative solution that reflects their behavioral and career preferences.”
Sir John Hegarty said: “Whole waves of traditional industries will disappear or radically change due to automation. But there is no algorithm for creativity – creators are our future workforce. So if we want our economies to thrive, we need to support the people and teams that bring ideas to life. That is what The Dots is all about; connecting, supporting and championing the people, teams, and brands that make ideas happen.”