Seelio: More Than Just LinkedIn For Millennials
If I’ve ignored a request from you on LinkedIn, I apologize. I have a confession to make: I have no idea what the purpose of LinkedIn is other than being an online repository for my resume. Frankly, it always freaks me out a little when I interview a source and they say, “So I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you …” What? You mean, people actually look at that site more than once or twice a year?
Moses Lee, CEO and co-founder of an Ann Arbor-based startup called Seelio, might suggest LinkedIn’s usefulness is limited by its lack of excitement. Lee has built an alternative in Seelio, an online platform that provides a way for students, new graduates, and fledgling professionals to showcase their talents and experience in a visually appealing way.
“Our platform allows users to display their work in a richer way than a resume,” Lee explains. “It also does it in a way that speaks to this [millennial] generation and allows them to shine with employers or grad schools.”
Late last year, Seelio amped up its intention to replace LinkedIn among the younger set by adding Nate Johnson, vice president of marketing at Path and the former head of consumer marketing at LinkedIn, to its official board of advisors.
Lee says resumes don’t do a great job of illustrating the abilities of college students and new grads because students don’t have a lot of professional work experience. So what Seelio users can do, for example, is create a page that details a fictional company created for a business course complete with photos, videos, and information about the company’s business model, potential customers, marketing strategy, and sales goals. Seelio users can also post about their internships and work experience, as well as their other hobbies and passions.
“You can put up anything digital—a PDF; a PowerPoint; an Excel spreadsheet; a video,” Lee says. “You can include travel experience, service experience, a paper that you wrote, a final class presentation, pictures, or screenshots of code or a website.”
Lee is targeting “doers and builders,” and Seelio users are encouraged to find others with common interests on the site for possible collaborations. Seelio is also popular with tech companies hunting for talent—about 500 employers use the site, Lee points out. Seelio even has a job board that, at press time, lists more than 200 full-time jobs and internships. “Peers can see each other’s work and help build each other’s reputation,” he adds. “There’s a real community being developed here.”
Seelio, which has a team of 12 including interns, was started about a year ago by three University of Michigan alums and was developed using the U-M student community as a baseline. “It started as exclusive to U-M, but we were really amazed by what [users] were doing on our site,” Lee notes. Seelio opened its beta version to the public in August and now the site has approximately 5,000 users.
Angel investors based in the Midwest provided Seelio with $600,000 in seed money, but Lee says the company will begin raising Series A funds sometime this year. He feels “really excited” by Seelio’s prospects and hopes that the site will not only grow in size but in spirit as it progresses with users along their career paths. “We’re trying to become the place for everything students aren’t posting on Facebook,” Lee adds. “We want to be the place for meaningful, rich information that helps build a user’s reputation around their skills.”