The US Apple Store’s ranked it Best Business Networking App for 11 months. Which App? CityHour. The social discovery app enables face-to-face meetings with professionals and just announced the opening of its European headquarters in Luxembourg. We asked Kristina Svensson, CityHour’s European Operations Director to tells us more about the startup strategy and why it incorporates its headquarters in the Grand-Duchy.
CityHour just released the opening of its European headquarters in Luxembourg, why did you chose Luxembourg?
For several reasons. I saw it as an opportunity for synergy: Luxembourg has been vocal about wanting to create a tech hub with impact and CityHour wants to grow rapidly. I looked carefully at cities like London and Berlin, which are very attractive in their own ways. However if we open European headquarters in those places, we are probably going to get labelled “British” or “German”, plus the vast amount of competition can be distracting and demotivating. In big cities it can be tricky to remain focused.
Knowing Luxembourg as I have for the last ten years, I knew we could count on the attentiveness of the government, local businesses and the community.
The small size of Luxembourg is an advantage. It’s more adaptable and reactive on several levels. There’s an incredible mix of European cultures, which allows CityHour to remain truly global while simultaneously putting down roots in Europe. Also the level of support by the community is crucial during these early stages – kind of like a toddler learning to walk and talk. The toddler will blossom if the parents and siblings are around to encourage and motivate him, otherwise it will be a real struggle. Knowing Luxembourg as I have for the last ten years, I knew we could count on the attentiveness of the government, local businesses and the community.
What is the purpose of the mobile app?
CityHour will change how professionals network – it’s a catalyst. We are surrounded by people all day and yet most of us aren’t where we really want to be in their career. Professionals want both a bridge and an icebreaker to help us to connect with other generations, sectors and regions. With little investment of time or money, CityHour creates on-demand, face-to-face meetings with others based on commonalities, objectives, location, and calendar availability.
Everytime someone sends you a message to meet up via CityHour, you know the person clicked on “I Want to Meet You”.
LinkedIn is more of a fancy address book than a networking tool. Facebook is too personal to be used for professional networking. Tinder is a revolutionary product, but again, it’s strictly for socializing. CityHour brings all those elements together, empowering people to take charge of their careers and future. Our message is, “Don’t leave your future up to your boss, your colleagues, the human resources department, and recruiters. Go out and meet people. Make business happen.” Plus, who can resist an ego-boost? Everytime someone sends you a message to meet up via CityHour, you know the person clicked on “I Want to Meet You”. Someone out there thinks you are interesting and valuable professionally.
Do you think Luxembourg and Europe are mature enough for this business?
Oh, sure! The beauty of CityHour is that it simply addresses the human need to connect with others, the desire to be validated by peers and the need to feel our careers are progressing.
Culture might dictate how we communicate, but we all have the same needs and desires.
Since consumers today have such short attention spans, we wrap that all up and deliver it in the form of instant gratification, on-demand. A company can have all the “experienced experts” they want, but if people don’t feel the need for the product, they will not engage. Ditto for location. Humans are human. Culture might dictate how we communicate, but we all have the same needs and desires.
You’re in charge of European operations, what will be the next steps for you?
Developing press and investor relations. I used to be a journalist back in the day, so I really like connecting with them and working together to get the word out.
The visibility will increase our traction, making CityHour even more relevant to its users.
CityHour is wants to empower people and let them take charge of their careers, live out their aspirations. Journalists and editors get that, that’s their “raison d’être”. The visibility will increase our traction, making CityHour even more relevant to its users. Then it will also be easier to get the next level with investors, which also will help us provide our users with continually improving features.