When covering news from the European tech scene, most of the major players seem to emerge from Germany, France, the UK, or even the Nordics. It is not often that you hear about a Kosovo-based or even Kosovo-founded startup with global potential. Solaborate is one.
Based out of Los Angeles, the Kosovan-founded, professional-oriented social network aims to become a more-comprehensive alternative to LinkedIn. Solaborate functions as a social network for professionals and provides features that you would expect to find a typical social-media site, such as profiles, but where the platform aims to truly stand out is in its tools for collaboration.
Screen sharing, the ability to share materials within a chat, personal blogs, user groups, video chats (download or install any special software), and more are features that Solaborate hopes will attract users searching for full-featured collaboration tool.
Labinot Bytyqi, founder of Solaborate, previously worked as an executive at SAP and decided to develop this business out of frustration with trying to fulfill multiple roles and needed to used a variety of services to do it. Doing development, consultation, project management, and sales proved difficult without a single, unified collaboration tool, so he decided to simply build his own. The inspiration came to Bytyqi back in 2011 and he spent the next couple of years building the business before it launched in 2013. In October 2013, Solaborate launched in beta, where it remains to this point.
To date, Solaborate has obtained $1 million from undisclosed private angels, which will be used in part to fuel global expansion. In order to raise revenue, the company tells me that they are looking to develop an in-house ad platform in the near future. They are considering various monetization options, but say that they are primarily focusing on developing the product at the moment.
LinkedIn is probably the main competitor, but there are differences in terms of pricing and features. LinkedIn is free to basic users, but you need to sign up for the premium service if you want to access all the available. Solaborate, on the other hand, bills itself as as a completely free networking tool. Another difference is in the features available, as Solaborate offers the networking features that you would expect on LinkedIn, while also allowing for video conferences, screen sharing, and more.