CHICAGO (TheStreet) -- MeetAdvisors was founded after Adam Fridman attended a networking event where he spotted an expert -- an intellectual property lawyer -- go unapproached and unused, despite charging $400 an hour to be on hand to dispense advice.
It was all the inspiration Fridman needed to found and become CEO of MeetAdvisors -- an online, less intimidating version of networking and advice seeking that plans to soon marry the digital and real worlds with live networking events.
MeetAdvisors competitors include LinkedIn (LNKD) and OneLeap. But LinkedIn charges to connect you with a person you do not know, and it's not advisable to start a relationship by asking for advice; OneLeap hosts high-profile advisers and requires you to pay a fee that goes to a charity of choice for 10 minutes of access. It's not for everyday Joes, and especially not for entrepreneurs without a buck to spare.
MeetAdvisors, though, offers entrepreneurs an easy way to solicit professional advice from their homes or offices whenever the need arises. I had a chance to interview Fridman about it:What is MeetAdvisors? Fridman: MeetAdvisors is a start-up. The goal is to give entrepreneurs a way to get their questions answered by experts. The site is available online 24/7 with reviews. Let's say you have an intellectual property question. Go to MeetAdvisors and find an expert. Advisors are registered and profiles appear like LinkedIn. Each adviser is confirmed to be a real person. The company also confirms their LinkedIn and social media. Lawyers should have a line of individuals waiting for their service, but they often don't know how to reach them. That struck me as terribly inefficient. In addition, an entrepreneur has a limited budget. This is a platform where the adviser's main mission is to give free advice, rather than asking for it. What is the format? How does MeetAdvisors operate? Fridman: Advisers are listed on the site and you can pick your criteria, location and [needed] expertise. If an entrepreneur has 10 to 20 years of experience in Chicago, you simply click on his profile to get advice. Ideally, you want to find an adviser with the highest review. Advisers can be elevated by the number of good reviews and how quickly the entrepreneur gets business.
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