August 2, 2011
For all you networking addicts out there who feel like their lunch hour is wasted on a sandwich, iced tea and the blank wall stare, say hello to a productive lunch with LetsLunch, which is launching mid-August in Washington, DC.
Professionals and entrepreneurs have been using LetsLunch in NYC and San Francisco to set up good old-fashioned sit downs with influential people who are typically tricky to reach and who fit your networking goals. Simply set your lunch time and location criteria, and LetsLunch will take it from there. Post lunch, you can rate your meetings and increase your reputation to get better lunch matches.
A similar application at a powerlunchers’ fingertips is Down4Lunch, a service that matches users based on a profile. Hungry hopefuls at Down4Lunch list info about themselves, their profession, and areas of interest. LetsLunch, on the other hand, cuts time by doing the work for you using a matching algorithm based partly on LinkedIn profiles. If your LinkedIn profile accurately matches your background and future goals, use LetsLunch. However, if you would like to move in another professional direction or change career focus, Down4Lunch might be the better bet.
Of course, there’s also the well-established Brazen Careerist, a social network for Gen Y’ers, which offers Networking Roulette, a feature that pares job seekers with recruiters during online networking events.
Interestingly, LetsLunch has observed networkers using the service as a pseudo-dating website, since a business networking lunch comes with less pressure than a “real” date. Lunch dating site It’s Just Lunch is no stranger to this concept, though there may be room for LetsLunch in this space, as it offers a casual, free dating alternative in a laid back neutral environment.
As this service boldly steps into DC, a politically-charged networking hub for politicians, communications professionals, management consultants, and, who could forget, lobbyists, I can see this service taking off, especially since LinkedIn blazed the social/business networking trail.
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