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Cooper raises $2M in seed funding

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Amsterdam-based Cooper is building a network that’s all about making and receiving introductions. It announced that it has raised $2 million in seed funding.

“Everything that happens in the network is based on on the foundation of introductions,” CEO Robert Gaal told me. “You should never get an unwanted message, and there’s no such thing as a connection request, because it’s not necessary if you have an introduction.”

So Cooper tries to take the opposite approach, limiting users’ connections to people they really know. To do this, it can pull data from a user’s online calendar, and it also provides them with a personal invite code that they can share with their professional contacts.

Users then post requests or opportunities, which are viewable by their connections and by friends of friends, who can offer to make useful introductions via email or in Cooper itself.

In fact, Gaal said that during the initial beta test, multiple people have successfully used Cooper to find new jobs — sometimes after pandemic-related layoffs, which they’re comfortable sharing with their inner circle but don’t want to broadcast to the world at large.

“There’s more discovery, more trust and you can reinvent other things on top of that — what the résumé is, what mentorship is — if you get trust right first,” he said.

Of course, simply sharing a calendar invite with someone doesn’t really mean you trust them or know them well. Cooper could eventually start looking at other measures that indicate your “connectivity” with someone, like how often you email with them, Gaal said — but the first step is simply recreating the professional circle in which you feel comfortable saying, “Oh, you’re looking for a job? My friend is hiring.”

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