Robert Gaal believes that nurturing our professional relationships becomes incredibly important when our economy is under stress. “People today actively look to make more meaningful, trusted, and real connections in their professional lives,” he says in a blog post announcing the launch of Cooper, a private professional network.
Gaal is the co-founder and CEO of Cooper. Previously, he was a product manager at Google, where we connected millions of job seekers to employers. He was also the managing director of the first Google tech hub in Amsterdam. He was the co-founder of Wakoopa, an analytics company acquired by GfK, and Karma, the first shareable mobile provider in the US. Gaal is also an angel investor and a member of the Atomico Angel program.
“With Cooper, we’re building an entirely new kind of professional network based on introductions, bringing that kind of offline personal touch online,” he says.
Free iOS and Android app and a €1.68M Seed fund
Amsterdam-based Cooper has announced its international launch and a seed funding raise of $2M (approx €1.68M).
Unlike existing professional networks, Cooper helps aspiring talent get introduced to experienced industry experts through people they both trust, via its free iOS and Android app
Its Seed round of funding was led by Comcast Ventures together with Localglobe, 468 Capital, Combine, and several others. The raised capital will be used to expand Cooper’s team and grow its presence in the US and Europe.
Founded in 2018 by Robert Gaal (CEO) and Emiel van Liere Cooper (CTO), Cooper is a private professional network. Both the founders met while building successful social consumer platforms, such as Hyves (acquired by TMG) and Wakoopa (acquired by GfK).
Van Liere is the co-founder and CTO of Cooper. Previously, he led the mobile team at Hyves, a Dutch social network with over 10 million members. Later, he joined GRWO and Travelbird to lead their engineering teams. He was also the co-founder of Folio, a tool used by designers at companies such as Airbnb and Tesla.
The company wants to help users get quality introductions from the people they trust, by focusing on meaningful, trusted, and real relationships.
The company is creating a marketplace where aspiring talent can be introduced to experienced industry experts through people they both trust. These experts focus on the quality of their connections over the quantity and they want to connect with others only with a specific purpose in mind.
During Cooper’s early beta test, groups of young talent, laid off due to the global pandemic, have already found jobs or freelance opportunities, as well as mentorship. Cooper’s mission is to give everyone equal access to career-changing introductions.
What does the app do?
The Cooper app allows its users to curate their inner circle. User can invite the people they have met by connecting Cooper to their calendar, or by sharing personal invite code. This helps the users to post requests for advice, ways to help, opportunities, team members, freelancers, leads, companies, investors, or partners.
According to the company, “Anyone in your trusted network, or friends of friends, can reply with an introduction to someone they think can help. Once you’ve accepted, they can instantly introduce you with a message on Cooper or over email. This creates a permission-based professional network where unwanted invites and messages are a thing of the past.”
“However, what we launch today isn’t perfect. It might not have dark-mode yet, or a web app, or slick animations, but you can use it today,” says Gaal. “Cooper is there at a time where your industry, your profession, or even your specific job, might be under a lot of stress.”
Image credit: Cooper