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Philly Startup Leaders is rethinking its online community with a new platform to network

PSL Connect is meant to be a refined way for members of the org to find the most "relevant resources, mentors, and connections they need at the stage they're in," Executive Director Isabelle Kent said.

The PSL Connect platform. (Screenshot)

In an effort to keep its members better connected and informed in an increasingly hybrid world, Philly Startup Leaders launched a new platform with events, updated company and individual profiles and announcements all in one place.

The org, which hosts programming and events for startup entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia region, is eventually retiring its Slack channel as it eyes this new platform — PSL Connect — to be a more efficient way to to keep members updated, Executive Director Isabelle Kent said.

“Since there aren’t robust profiles or archives on Slack, it makes it difficult to follow companies, people, and requests over time,” Kent told Technical.ly via Slack DM.

The org’s #general Slack channel currently has nearly 5,000 users, and it’s hard to vet newcomers, so the platform has gotten “a tad spammy,” she said. PSL Connect offers profiles for individuals and startup companies, and can help narrow down folks in the community if you’re looking to find someone who’s, say, a social media expert, VC investor or founder.

Profiles share users’ location, title, specialities, interests and contact info, if they’ve shared them. By the fall, Kent said, the platform will have group and chat functionality that can host micro-communities for topics like developers, insuratech and impact entrepreneurs or even geographical communities like Bucks County or Fishtown.

“The goal is to help members be more self-directed in finding the most relevant resources, mentors, and connections they need at the stage they’re in,” Kent said. “Plus, it helps us and other community partners better understand the industries, stages, asks, and investment happening across the city.”

Kent added that although the platform launched this week, the org’s Slack channel will still be around through at least the end of the year. Eventually, the platform will be seeking about a $20 a month donation which will enable the org (which is a nonprofit) to cover its operating costs and continue to develop the platform. Complimentary memberships will be available for those who may need assistance, Kent added.

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