Posted January 14, 2008 12:20 pm by with 7 comments

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Most of us have gotten to a place in our life or career where we need some mentoring, but don’t know where to find assistance. For example: maybe you own a small business and you want to retire soon, and you want to prepare to sell your business, but don’t know how to begin.

There is a new niche social networking site that could be helpful. It matches people who want to find career or business mentors with people who want to be mentored. The site, called iMantri accesses your goals with other’s competencies. The site is in private beta but will launch in January.

I know it seems like their is no room for yet another social networking site, but in this case, I can see the value. iMantri takes a different approach by actively pairing people. Mentors can charge for their service or offer their expertise without charge. Or, they can charge fees but give the amount to charity. With the popularity of coaching, I could see it as attracting life and business coaches. I could also see how they would want to advertise on a site like iMantri, or use it to find leads for new clients.

The company cites some stats suggesting how people may use the site. First,, the top professional networking site, is used to share best practices and ask questions about their professional life. According to iMantri: “Fifty-five percent of respondents to a survey reported using professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, to share best practices with colleagues.Forty-nine percent use professional networking sites to get answers to issues they are face on their jobs.” This makes me wonder if they’ll have something like LinkedIn Answers where you can ask the community a question. I also see recommendations (as in: anyone know of a good business broker?) and ratings (which they have now) as helpful.

iMantri’s Features include:

  • Competency Assessment: Users will be able to assess their competencies and generate a mentoring need analysis which pinpoints areas of strengths and weaknesses
  • Goals/Issues based Mentoring: While competencies are building blocks, some of the users who want to focus on a specific goal or resolving a specific issue can find content, context, resources and mentors based on their area of interest
  • Mentor-Mentee Matching Engine: Users will be able to search for a mentor or a mentee and be intelligently matched with the right people
  • Mentoring Framework and Tools: Mentors will be able to define needs in detail, create a mentoring process and implement it using tools for planning, interactions, feedback, and rating

iMantri is headquartered in Silicon Valley and is currently self-funded.

  • I think that iMantri has definitely found a unique niche within the highly competitive world of social networking sites. However, with LinkedIn already well-established, specifically within the realm of professional social networking sites, I am curious whether a site that offers mentoring that may be at a charge will be able to take off. Even if it is made clear that fees will go to charity, I can imagine that people may still be hesitant to pay for mentoring through this type of site when they may be able to find similar help and advice without a fee.

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  • Even though, for some reason, I always dislike using the term “mentor”, I have to agree that this one definitely has potential.

    Alan Johnson

  • Interesting idea. I’ll reserve judgment until I can see the site in action, but it does sound like it has potential.

  • This is actually just the site I’ve been looking for because I’m starting up my own mentor program. Perfect! Thanks!

  • To be a mentor is not too easy. I don’t think that so many people can handle this.

  • The battle of knowlegde and content has begun: Wikipedia, Questions&Answers,, Malaho Greenhouse, Squidoo, Ning and Google Knols – announced, not launched yet ? – and many others

    Content is indeed important to find a public for your service and your adds…

    The next thing is a promise to publish really valuable content with the name of the author and his main URL.

    Remember that Wikipedia has thought about publishing the most revelant articles on their system already…

    Pieter Jansegers