At this point in our post-2020 life, the pandemic and the Great Resignation go hand in hand. But we’re also in an era filled with hobbies, side hustles and people are searching for meaning — at least, more than their next 9-to-5 can offer them.
And while there are plenty of sites for finding your next big gig, DC founder Frank Goodman noticed that people were searching for connections in a lot more than just work.
“There aren’t a lot of people that go to work and come home and can go to work and come home and feel fulfilled,” Goodman told Technical.ly. “People are always looking for something else. They may be interested in volunteering, they may be interested in all of these different things, but it’s rarely just: ‘Work is all I need.'”
That idea led Goodman, who is also the founder of Bleeding Bulb and the former CTO for virtual events app Happied, to found BUILD, an app for people searching for connections and “opportunities,” as he puts it. BUILD, launching next month in the beta stage, lets you search for opportunities in investments, employment, partnerships, volunteering, internships, funding, education and training, and bartering. Users can take part in consultations or chat sessions (with built-in options to take notes and respond with emojis), and host group and individual messages. It also lets you search the network for individuals to connect with based on your needs, be it mentors, a potential cofounder or just someone else in your industry to talk to.
“People are no longer looking for jobs, we’re saying that they’re looking for opportunities,” Goodman said. “So some people are looking to invest, some people are looking for partners, some people are looking to volunteer, there are all types of things that people are doing.”
To maximize connections and make sure people are only communicating with those that are actually worthwhile, Goodman said BUILD also allows users to filter who can send them messages. Users can specify that they’d only like to receive notes from someone in their circles or in a certain industry, he said, which keeps things efficient, and also potentially limits messages from bots.
Goodman and the five-person build team have been working on the app, which was built in Ionic, since last summer. With next month’s launch, the app will be available in the beta stages for Android and iOS users, and the team plans to add about 500 people to the platform; right now, it has about 60 people in the pre-beta. Eventually, it’ll be open for anyone to join, but in the early stages, Goodman said his team will be vetting and approving users after they apply to join.
Alongside the app, BUILD also has a podcast for people to talk about their building journeys. It’s an important aspect, Goodman said, because founders, creators and others need a space to hear about the whole picture — including difficulties and failures — instead of just success stories.
“We need a vulnerable place where people can come together and say what their real situation is,” Goodman said. “That’s why it’s called ‘Build’ not ‘Built,’ because these aren’t for people that claim that everything is already together. These are people in the process of chasing whatever it is that they assume can be a success.”
Following the launch of the app in beta, Goodman said he hopes to get BUILD enrolled in an accelerator program or the like to help it grow. He also has plans to open a seed round in Q2, as the company has been completely bootstrapped until now, seeking as much as $2.5 million.
With that progress, he hopes to continue growing the user base of the app to create a space for tons of people to connect.
“We’re one of those applications that’s rooted in the community first,” Goodman said. “This isn’t a place that’s just going to be about some followers and keeping people in the app. We want to add that value to bring people in the app, that’s why we want to give them that control of the environment.”-30-