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proprietary information about employees and their work experience. Knode is currently in beta testing and the company hopes to roll out a version for the public in the fall, Steinberg says.
Drug executives can use Knode to find not just internal resources, but external ones, as well. “Maybe you’re looking for partners for a collaborative research project in China, and you want to find every biology expert who was trained in the U.S.,” Steinberg says. “You can get a list of those people, connect through and read their [research] papers, and then reach out to them.”
One advantage that Knode offers over other social networks, Steinberg says, is that employees don’t have to opt into it, nor do they have to constantly check their profiles to make sure they’re up-to-date. All that is automated and synched with other internal sites the company might be using, he says. He believes that will result in a much richer database of expertise than what companies get when they use standard social-networking platforms. “When you try to introduce a type of Facebook for enterprise, you get this rabid fan base of 10 percent of the company joining,” he says. “What you miss out on is the other 90 percent—the quiet, super-smart, super-capable scientists who are just not into that stuff.” Those people will automatically appear on Knode.
AstraZeneca’s input was key to designing Knode’s functionality, Steinberg says. He declines to reveal the financial specifics of the deal, or Knode’s overall financial status, except to say the company got its initial product off the ground “through a combination of seed funding from PureTech and Enlight and from strategic partnering.” The company plans to raise a funding round later this year or early next year, he says.
Knode is working on enhancing its product with features similar to what’s offered in the premium version of LinkedIn, Steinberg says, such as the ability to save profiles, track them over time, and share them with colleagues. It’s all designed to make finding the right experts easy and fast. “You go from a process that takes months,” Steinberg says, “to one that takes minutes.”