Let’s face it: even in a socially connected world, there are times when 140 characters will get you just so far – but one Wizpert can make all the difference.
Wizpert is a real-time platform that connects people who need help, assistance or advice, with experts who are ready, willing and able to chat, practically 24-7. It’s a different kind of community: Social as a Service.
And they’ve just come out of beta.
While Wizpert can connect you with a wizpert – which is what the company calls their experts – in a number of verticals, from wellness to career help to parenting, and more, it’s their programming vertical that has really taken off.
“The demand for programmers has never been higher, and more people are learning to develop software than ever before,” said Wizpert CEO and Co-founder Michael Weinberg. “Many are learning how to code online or on the job.”
And where is someone who’s teaching him- or herself to code going to turn for help when they get stuck at, say, 2 o’clock in the morning?
“Wizpert provides instant access to a community of experienced programmers who love to help,” Weinberg continued.
Instead of there being a flat fee, users are encouraged to compensate their wizpert for the value they receive from their chat. Users purchase virtual currency ‘coins’ to compensate wizperts; users can also earn the coins by participating in certain activities, such as promoting wizperts, or just by returning to the platform on a regular basis. Experts’ earnings are split with Wizpert; earnings can be converted to cash and redeemed via PayPal.
Of course, there’s a rating system, too. Users give their feedback – and help wizperts to build their reputations – via a simple thumbs-up/thumbs-down review reflecting the wizperts’ knowledge, professionalism and general helpfulness. These reputations are later used to influence Wizpert’s matching engine algorithms and affect the wizperts’ utilization on the platform.
They do plan on moving beyond simply text-based chat. “We build the required features/technology to support our verticals,” Weinberg explained. “For example, we recently added code sharing and editing for programming chats. As we expand to additional topics. we will add features like screen/document sharing, video and audio. as needed.”
Wizpert was founded in 2011 by Weinberg and Stefan D’Heedene (CTO), who met while working together at Merrill Lynch and were part of Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator’s 2012 Winter class (full disclosure – I happen to be a mentor at ERA). Their investors include ERA, as well as Greg Kidd, who is an investor in/advisor to Twitter & Square, and Robert Cohen, an early investor/board member in AVG Technologies.
More topics remain in beta and will be formally launched later this year. “We are seeing strong early traction in other verticals including, career advice, wellness, and relationships,” Weinberg said.
So there’s a wizpert who can help, even if you’re having relationship problems with the programmer.
More than 4,000 wizperts and over 10,000 users have joined the community during its private beta period. Again, it’s no wonder. At the end of the day – or more likely, in the middle of the night – there’s nothing like having a helpful human to turn to.