It is no secret that professional networking is important for career growth. With the proliferation of digital, online platforms for professional and social networking have become a large phenomena. These platforms offer opportunities to share and seek connections, advice and opportunities. The most well-known of professional networks is LinkedIn. It provides a host of features for networking, searching for jobs and clients, and professional upskilling. Catering to 770+ million users across 200 countries, LinkedIn has become a very wide network spanning across demographics. The natural extension of such networks is to build verticalized, demographic-focused networks that go deeper into user persona, their needs and style, and even provide personalized success for their members.
One such important demographic is women. A number of studies indicate that women network differently from men. They are more focused on building long-term relationships, tend to have smaller, more close-knit groups and are less direct in articulating their wants from the interaction. Other factors such as the disproportionate division of household responsibilities also influence the manner, frequency and nature of circles women network in. Further, gender ratios are skewed at top levels of management (80 percent of C-suite positions are held by men) and with fewer women in leadership roles, there is lesser likelihood of women being promoted, hired and/or sponsored in male-dominated settings. This only continues the cycle of women not being able to leverage networking to fulfil their potential.
There is thus the need for a space that is conducive to women’s networking in terms of style, needs and goals. A study of social networking platforms published a few years back concluded that not all networks are equal, and networks with focus and quality fare better than networks that are simply large. It is on these lines – focus and quality – that the founders of Leap.club are building a professional networking platform for women.
Founded in early 2020, leap.club is a platform for professional women to find connections and build relationships with each other, pursue courses to upskill themselves, get 1:1 executive coaching, and look for new career opportunities through their job portal. Currently a members-only app, leap.club levies a fee on some of the services such as courses and wellness and executive coaching sessions. The focus is on fostering deep and one-on-one relationships, enabling self-paced, targeted learning, and creating opportunities for women to be hired, promoted and mentored, eventually empowering more women to achieve and ace leadership positions. Its members include women from all sectors, with a broad experience range of 0 – 20 years i.e. from freshers to mid-level management to senior and leadership positions.
Importantly, Leap.club also offers its platform to women professionals who fall in these categories but are currently on a break. In a survey conducted by Mint, 89 percent respondents, all women, cited skill gaps and absence of a strong network as the biggest challenges they face in resuming their careers. Leap.club has taken serious cognizance of this. They have recently launched a strong campaign that promotes gender equality and more women on company boards. By supporting women at all stages of their professional lives, Leap.club aspires to break the glass ceiling and infuse inclusivity and diversity at all levels in the workplace.
Leap.club’s founders, Anand Sinha and Ragini Das, have previously played fundamental roles in building Zomato’s Gold membership feature, and thus have a strong grasp of membership-based models and consumer behaviour and psychology. In less than a year, the founders have been able to demonstrate a strong product market fit with a sharp focus on building quality experiences for its members.
There is no doubt that Indian women have enormous economic potential; in 2018, McKinsey Global Institute stated in a report that increasing their participation in the economy can generate more than 70 percent of India’s potential GDP growth opportunity. As more women opt to network, upskill and source lucrative job opportunities, platforms like Leap.club can expect promising growth in terms of traction and revenues.