Social Gatherings Go Digital Thanks to Networking Startup Lunchpool
The coronavirus health crisis is fundamentally changing our relationships with the world and one another. As most are self-quarantined or otherwise isolated due to government mandates for residents to stay at home, many are turning to technology to maintain connections – and cultivate new ones – at a safe distance.
In answer to the COVID-19 situation and an increasingly remote workforce, southern startup Lunchpool has emerged as a virtual alternative to in-person networking.
Founded in Tampa Bay, Florida, with a fully remote team working across two continents, Lunchpool was created to help like-minded people connect without leaving their desks. Recently, the interactive platform has become host to numerous virtual happy hours, pitch events, and professional networking socials – including Self Made Sisters’ Startup Book Club.
Lunchpool co-founder Pooja Pendharkar shares how her team is elevating events digitally (and germ-free) and why she is excited to use her technology to support fellow startup founders.
Why are you and the Lunchpool team passionate about virtual collaboration?
At Lunchpool, we advocate a work/life balance. Having the flexibility to collaborate virtually and schedule our work around our life is critical in being able to strike that balance.
I’m passionate about helping companies foster collaboration through their teams, and creating environments where the employees feel supported, connected, and valued for what they bring to the table. Virtual collaboration is powerful in that it can take away the barriers of geography, and even time zones, and make a team member feel fully embedded in a collaborative team. This also helps increase productivity, and adds to their sense of belonging.
As business owners, our business’ success depends on the people who work with and for us. We spend money hiring the best people. Now it’s time to empower to best people to be able to work with each other, even if they don’t physically fit in the same office or even the same time zone!
Tell us how it works. Why is your platform great for digital networking?
Our platform is different from tools like Zoom and other webinar/web conference software because attendees can network with one another at individual tables (similar to the networking in the hallways and luncheons at real-life conferences). So there is the social aspect in addition to content-delivery.
The users simply create a quick profile and enter the virtual event hall. There they can meet and chat with the other attendees, get to know the sponsors, as well as watch the presenter deliver the type of quality content they’re used to getting from their events.
This ability to seamlessly join and leave the tables and collaborate in small groups is a low risk way of replicating the feelings of being at a physical networking event.
Why are you and Lunchpool excited to bring this experience to women in business?
As a startup, we have had to rely on networking to build relationships in our community. As we have gotten more involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, we have noticed the disturbing trend of seeing a low number of women entrepreneurs.
At Lunchpool we believe that the table is big enough for everyone. This time of social distancing and uncertainty cannot be seen as an excuse to exclude. This platform allows the community and our businesses to keep the momentum.
As women, I believe the one skill we have above all is the ability to adapt. Fast ball, curve ball, we will figure out a way to hit it out of the park as long as we are invited to bat. Lunchpool virtual platform is here saying, batter up! We’re badasses!
Why is Lunchpool a perfect tool and alternative for book clubs and other social events?
Part of the value of book clubs is being able to share our perspectives w/ others in a small group. This platform allows the attendees to do that, but across geographical boundaries. Someone in Orlando, can share what their thoughts with someone in Atlanta, or Miami, or Tampa. It not only preserves the in person experience but adds to it by breaking down these geographical barriers.
Image Sources: Lunchpool.io | Header Image CC: Pexels