RISMEDIA, April 14, 2008-The membership of UPworld.com – the first on-line professional networking community for the real estate, architecture, and construction industries – has reached 2,000. Announcing the milestone, Jennifer Magee, UPworld Co-founder and CEO, commented, “The explosive growth of the UPworld.com community has vastly exceeded our initial expectations. Since the network’s launch just nine months ago, our members have enthusiastically embraced the idea of professional on-line networking and taken advantage of the business, career, and social opportunities offered by instant access to representatives of all specialties in the real estate and building industries.”
Established in April of 2007, UPworld serves as both a real time social networking tool for professionals and a platform for knowledge exchange among experts that allows for easy and fast development of deals, projects, and advisory teams at virtually any location in the United States or overseas. UPworld connects representatives of all professions involved in the real estate, building, and design industries, which combined comprise the second largest industrial sector in the world, valued at $3.2 trillion annually.
In the U.S., the sector employs approximately 8.5 million people or 10% of the U.S. workforce, and contributes more than $700 billion to the national economy. The network brings together investors and financing providers, real estate owners and developers, property managers, architects, interior designers, engineers, builders and contractors, fabricators, and suppliers. UPworld also hosts frequent networking and educational events.
According to the company, UPworld is the brainchild of two young New York City professionals and entrepreneurs: architect and real estate development consultant Jennifer Magee, and urban designer and architect Oisin Clancy, UPworld’s Co-founder and Creative Director. The network’s concept came to life as the founders realized there was no existing on-line community to assist them in generating project leads, obtaining professional advise, or even initiating virtual peer-to-peer interaction that has become an ingrained part of their generation’s social experience.
An even more significant realization was that the real estate, financing, design, and building professions are so fragmented and disconnected that the traditional chain of communication throughout the development cycle of real estate deals and construction projects was painfully inadequate and archaic. Although real estate brokers, developers, architects, and contractors all participate in different phases of a building project and need each other’s services to succeed, they rarely interact as a team. A new model for integrated communication was in order.
Over a period of one year, Magee, Clancy, and their team of programmers developed the conceptual framework and software for the site that generates an open and instantaneous exchange of expertise, ideas, and resources among all participants of the related industries. The founders named this new community UPworld – a moniker that represents the network’s global reach, upward career movement, and the process of constructing a building from the ground up.
Since its launch in April 2007, the community has been growing at an increasing pace, reaching an average of approximately 200 new members joining UPworld per month in January 2008. “We were incredibly lucky in choosing the right time to launch this type of business-related social networking site. Just a year or two ago, the idea of on-line networking would have met fierce resistance from professionals, who associated it with teenager-occupied chat rooms. However, the new generation entering the worlds of investment banking, real estate, design, construction, and engineering is as familiar and at ease with on-line presence as the previous generation is with e-mail,” said Magee. “They have no qualms about developing professional relationships on-line, and take advantage of the opportunities with a vengeance,” added Clancy.
This Internet generation-led business relationship revolution has already resulted in tangible outcomes, as UPworld has been helping members link up with one another across the globe. In one example, Vid Bogdanovic, a Serbian architect and 3-D visualization service provider, used UPworld to develop a connection with New York City architect Mark Ackerson. Ackerson hired Bogdanovic to develop visuals for his firm’s U.S. projects. Shortly thereafter, Bogdanovic assisted Ackerson in submitting and winning an assignment in Belgrade, Serbia, to design a soccer stadium, a project that is currently in the planning phase. As another example, there are numerous instances of young developers meeting through UPworld and joining forces in order to obtain financing for new projects, frequently from financing providers, who are also members of the network.
UPworld says they are continuously expanding the website with tools that encourage communication and idea exchange among members. The online community currently provides the following features:
Marketplace postings – the most popular UPworld tool for professionals offering their services, seeking partners, searching for or providing financing, looking for projects, or offering positions. Postings are categorized by industry, may be searched by keywords, and may include visuals and photos. UPworld provides daily or weekly e-mail update on new postings to those members who wish to receive it.
My profile – this section outlines in detail each member’s skills, education, expertise, and projects. Numerous UPworld members utilize the profile page as their company or personal website as it can be easily edited and updated. The profiles include the Portfolio feature that allows for presentation of visuals and information on member’s current and past deals or projects.
People listing – a list of profiles and portfolios of other members, which is searchable by keywords, industry, name, profession, or location; an excellent tool to identify potential partners, clients, or suppliers.
Events listing – an area where members can post their events and review other upcoming events.
My Network – this feature allows members to approve, reject, invite, and manage access by other members to their information and projects. My Network tool protects members from unsolicited offers, provides a safe information sharing procedure, and allows for direct and instant contact with either selected or all members of one’s network. A member’s contact information remains hidden until a member invites someone to join his or her network. A member has the ability to remove anyone from his or her network at any time.
My Messages – similar in function to regular e-mail accounts, My Messages allows UPworld members to contact other members. A member’s e-mail address is not revealed to any recipient who is not in that member’s network.
My articles – an automatically generated listing of articles potentially of interest to each member. This tool also allows members to post their own articles.
For more information, visit www.UPworld.com.