A Facebook meets Jive for techies -- that’s one of the ways to describe a new social and collaboration platform targeted at technology pros that launches in public beta this week. 

The platform allows technology-based individuals and teams to use a more complete set of communication and collaboration tools than is otherwise available, optimized around common technology interests. It also allows companies to involve outsiders, such as clients, experts or potential hires in technology-focused interactions.

Single Communications Environment

Los Angeles-based Solaborate’s features include audio calling, video conferencing, file sharing, screen sharing, wall posting, IMing and real-time analytics, as well as profiles on companies, individuals and products. The company notes that the HTML5-based platform allows for video calling directly from the browser as well as the simultaneous use of screen sharing, without the need for downloads or plug-ins. In addition to the browser-based version, this week will see the launch of new mobile apps for Android and iOS devices.

Solaborate User Wall.jpg
A user wall in Solaborate

Founder and CEO Labinot Bytyqi told CMSWire that, when he ran a practice at SAP, “about 50 percent of my time was spent trying to get content to my customers.” At that time, he said, he used one site for documentation and another for conversing with customers. Solaborate is an attempt to create a single environment for communicating with customers as well as for talking to the development team.

Standing Apart in a Crowd 

Given that there is already a variety of social intranets, collaboration platforms and social communication tools out there, Bytyqi noted that one way Solaborate will differentiate itself is by remaining free, without extra charges for premium levels. Instead, the business model will eventually include advertising and content marketing, such as sponsored white papers. Another possible revenue path is to offer white label versions that can then be branded by companies, such as GitHub is doing for its popular online repository of software development projects.

Additionally, he said, Solaborate is offering a wider collection of functionality than is available in other platforms, such as the ability to share a screen. “We’re the missing link between Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,” Bytyqi added. There is also an “influencer score,” he said, that ranks participants by their connections and other evidence of influence in the community.

For techies to completely manage their professional life, he said, “all you need is a browser.”