A new networking app wants to comb through people’s inboxes and tell them whom they lost touch with during the pandemic, The Post has learned.
Upstream Reconnect, a new service from professional networking service Upstream, will work by analyzing users’ Gmail and Google calendar data. If Reconnect finds that a user used to regularly talk to someone but they haven’t spoken in a while, the app will send the user a reminder to reach out.
“No matter how hard you try, you can’t keep up with everyone you want to,” Upstream founder Alex Taub told The Post. “You sort of need a computer brain to come in and help.”
Upstream bills itself as a competitor to LinkedIn in the business networking space and launched last year during the pandemic, making a name for itself as a platform for virtual professional events.
But as the world reopens and would-be networkers find themselves more inclined to spend their evenings at bars or movie theaters than video chatting with their colleagues, Upstream wants to branch into services that are not tied to specific online events.
The first Reconnect report users receive will tell them who they have touch with since coronavirus shutdowns hit the US and Europe in March 2020. After that, they will receive weekly reports.
The feature will work by analyzing email metadata — like when and how frequently emails were sent and received — not by looking at their actual content, according to the company.
“We’re very privacy conscious, so we don’t ask for the content of your emails,” Taub said. “We don’t know the subject line, we don’t know the body, we don’t know what you’re saying.”
Since the app will not be able to differentiate between professional and personal contacts, it could potentially put users in awkward situations by telling them to reach out to ex-lovers or dead relatives.
To address this issue, Reconnect will let users flag people they do not want to be reminded about, Taub said.
Reconnect has opened a public waitlist and will allow about 100 people start using the feature in July once they secure necessary permissions from Google, Taub said. The feature will become more widely available later this year.
Upstream has raised $3.5 million so far in pre-seed and seed funding rounds, according to Crunchbase.