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Making Professional Connecting Easier Than Ever: An Interview With The Co-Founder of ‘Funnl’

In today’s day when making professional connections seems like an easy thing to do, an equally difficult and less talked about issue is maintaining and keeping up with those relationships. I sat down in November 2021 with Mike Levinger, the Co-Founder of ‘Funnl’ to talk about the “why’s” and “how’s” of his latest brainchild. Funnl is a platform created by a group of students at Colgate University that aims to streamline the path to maintaining professional relationships by helping to follow up with connections, building stronger networks, and also providing industry insights.

Vaidehi: Could you describe to our audience what exactly Funnl is, and what it stands for as a platform?

Mike: Funnl is a Career Relationship Management (CRM) software; our overarching goal with Funnl is to help students have more fulfilling career opportunities. Because 85% of jobs are filled via networking, students need a tool that helps them take full advantage of their network. While social media-based platforms already exist, Funnl is your own independent tool to help you manage your job search efforts. Our efforts are to help students around the country to get better first jobs, and hopefully help them have an edge over their competitors on getting the first interview.

Vaidehi: What was your vision behind creating Funnl, and how do you see it impacting the marketplace?

Mike: Well, I created Funnl because I saw a need for it. When I was a sophomore at Colgate University, we had a networking event called Sophomore Connections. There were so many great people and great opportunities, but I had no tool to take advantage of all of them. Of the 30 people I met that weekend, I maybe was able to follow up with 2 of them because I wasn’t able to organize my network to stay up to date with the people I met. So, I thought to myself that this would be a tremendous opportunity to help students know who they met and give them a time frame on when to follow up with those people, and so we could create thousands of connections across the country that would lead to people having fulfilling careers. So, the vision for Funnl is a tool that maximizes social capital exchanges. Networking is just relationship building, and Funnl makes building relationships easier than ever.

Vaidehi: Does Funnl have a specific target audience that you’d like to see it grow with?

Mike: I’m confident that Funnl will help the diligent networkers of the world, but what I’d really love to see is us helping the people who are a little more anxious to reach out. We have an excellent educational platform that teaches students how to access their personal network. At college campuses, alumni are waiting for students to reach out to them. I want to see us help introverts as well as extroverts so they can take full advantage of the goldmine of potential connections under their feet, and Funnl is the tool to mine that gold.

Vaidehi: What, in your opinion, separates Funnl from other related platforms in the industry? Is there anything you’re specifically proud to talk about?

Mike: I’d say what separates Funnl is that it’s a solution built by students, for students. We saw a need for it, so we created it. Now, Funnl is not a typical social media network where you may see a bunch of self-promotion or noise that isn’t helpful for anyone, it is your own independent tool to make you network better and grow your social capital. We want to empower students everywhere to take advantage of opportunities, expand their horizons, and build relationships that could last a lifetime in the professional world. 

Vaidehi: How do you see Funnl growing in the next 5-10 years?

Mike: I hope Funnl becomes a ubiquitous tool that college students across the country learn to network with. Just as Handshake is the job posting board that students rally around, it is my vision that Funnl will be the tool that once students have identified a company they’re interested in, they know all they have to do is use their Funnl account to build relationships at that company that will open the door to potential referrals, recommendations, and mentorships that they wouldn’t have otherwise. I want to see Funnl being a tool used by every college freshman when they start their career so that they learn to network with it, and it becomes invaluable to each of them.

Check Funnl out here!

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Vaidehi Bhatia

U Mass Amherst '23

Vaidehi is a writer for the University of Massachusetts Amherst chapter. She is a senior majoring in Data Science with minors in Business and Computer Science. Be on the lookout for lots of articles about fashion, beauty, relatable college experiences & wellbeing!