Los Angeles, CA-based Solaborate has an ambitious project: become the leading technology social networking platform for professionals and companies. The target is hard to achieve but their offering seems impressive (they have just launched its public beta and a new mobile app for Android). CEO Labinot Bytyqi explained to us how he and his team are working to achieve the target.
FinSMEs: Hi Labinot, can you tell us something about you?
Labinot: I am Labinot Bytyqi, the main founder and CEO of Solaborate, a business executive with extensive experience in the technology industry. Prior to Solaborate, I had my last position as an account executive with SAP, where I managed the 28 largest accounts in the Western Region of the United States, such as Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Nike, Cisco, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, HP, Disney, Boeing, Warner Brothers, Nestle, T-Mobile, McAfee, McKesson, AMD, eBay, etc.
In my current role as Founder and CEO of Solaborate, my responsibilities include managing the overall operations of the business, including development, finance, marketing, HR, planning, fund raising and more. This multifaceted position allows me to leverage my understanding of the technology world and my experience as a proven entrepreneur / technology expert.
FinSMEs: What’s Soloborate?
Labinot: Solaborate is a social and collaboration platform dedicated to technology professionals and companies to connect, collaborate, discover opportunities, and create an ecosystem around products and services. Solaborate provides technology professionals with a central place with the right tools and services to collaborate in real time and be more productive. Solaborate goes beyond internal integration to enable interaction with people outside the company, including experts, potential hires and even customers. It differentiates itself in the world of social networking by focusing on the needs of tech professionals.
FinSMEs: Which tools does it offer?
Labinot: The platform offers many features that enhance the productivity of technology professionals, their companies, products and services. Some of them include:
– Better way to manage your professional life
– Professional User, Company, and Product/Service Profiles
– Instant Messaging
– 1:1 and Group Audio and Video Conference (true virtual collaboration)
– In-chat File Sharing
– Screen Sharing / Desktop Sharing
– Advanced Questions & Answers
– Post and Manage Jobs & Opportunities
– Product Demos & Reviews
– Organize and Share Events
– Real time insights/dashboards
and much more.
FinSMEs: I know other collaboration platforms for tech professionals. Which are the features that can make the difference?
Labinot: Solaborate is interesting and unique because of our unique targeted community and our various innovative tools for real-time communication and collaboration. The professionals in the technology industry will have almost everything they need at their fingertips. They can connect and discover colleagues, research companies and products, find answers to their questions, plan events, join user groups, chat, audio and video conference, etc. We have included so many features on our site with the goal of providing professionals all the tools and services they need in their daily activities. We believe the technology underpinning our communication and collaboration features are unique and interesting, because unlike most other similar platforms, we have embraced the use of WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication). The main goal of this technology is to allow browsers to communicate with each other using audio or video. We believe this technology will change the landscape of communication and will become a standard for many websites and applications.
FinSMEs: What’s the business model?
Labinot: Our revenue model will be mostly ad-based, which will be built in-house. Users will always be able to create profiles for themselves and their companies, products and services for free. There are many monetization strategies that we will be able to harness with Solaborate, but we are not focused on that at the moment. Right now, we just want to build the best social and collaboration platform on the web.
FinSMEs: The team. Who is behind Soloborate?
Labinot: The Solaborate Team consists of 25 highly talented, passionate, dedicated, innovative tech professionals in development, design, quality assurance testing, and marketing. We have developers and designers that would be considered veterans in this industry, and we’ve been very lucky in this regard. We are also unique because our team is truly global. Our headquarters are in Los Angeles, CA but we also have teams in Macedonia and Kosovo.
FinSMEs: You have already raised $1m in seed funding (read here). Was it useful? Do you plan to raise additional capital?
Labinot: Yes, Solaborate received $1M in seed funding from business angles and individual investors, which the company has used to perfect its platform, taking it from private to public beta in just five short months. As part of this move, Solaborate now offers audio calling, video conferencing, file sharing and screen sharing along with social and collaboration capabilities via easy, powerful integrations with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. The investment has definitely been useful in allowing our development team to build a platform with robust collaboration features.
New investments are of course always welcome. We have very ambitious goals for Solaborate that require dedicated investments.
Question: Future Plans?
Labinot: Our main plan is to garner a large user base of tech professionals, companies, products and services, thus creating a sustainable professional network. Since it’s a global social and collaboration platform, we aim at the global market including those not fully penetrated by the existing social media sites – (i.e. Russia, China, etc.) Also, we do hope to grow offices worldwide, one step at a time. Additionally, we want to continue building on top of what we already have. There are many exciting collaboration features that we have in our roadmap, which we think can dramatically alter the landscape of web-based collaboration.