Guild, the ad-free, digital networking platform for professionals, has launched discoverable profiles. The move provides users with the option to find and connect one-to-one with others, and will enable search engines to crawl and index profile pages, allowing users to be ‘discovered’ by those currently outside of the platform.

With its focus on high-quality, valued connections, Guild is looking to reinvent the ‘little black book’ for the digital, mobile age by attracting professionals who are turning away from noisy, ad-reliant channels such as LinkedIn.

One-to-one networking follows growth in groups

Launched in 2018, Guild is purpose-designed for professionals and businesses and has been created to mimic the ease-of-use of consumer messaging apps without compromising on security and privacy.

Its initial growth to over 20,000 members arose from expanding groups, networks and communities, many of which are public (such as FORT and CREO), and others that are privately hosted by businesses and organisations.

To realise its full networking potential for professionals, it has now evolved to allow direct connections between like-minded peers too. Profiles will default to private, allowing users to decide whether or not they wish to connect directly with others and be visible within search engine results pages (SERPs). Each invitation to connect can also be manually accepted or rejected.

Guild remains free to join for individuals. Paid plans are available for organisations that run communities beyond a certain size which include premium features such as branding and analytics.

Guild founder and CEO, Ashley Friedlein said:
“We made the decision to allow direct one-to-one contact on the platform because sometimes the best connections and opportunities lie outside of an individual’s immediate sphere of influence.

Knowledge sharing and partnerships can be equally fruitful across industry sectors or in different fields of professional specialisms, so we believe that Guild is now better able to help users build their careers and business interests.

Whilst we’re not setting a cap on the maximum number of contacts, our emphasis remains very much on meaningful networking - and not accepting invites for the sole purpose of tallying up a large number of connections.”

LinkedIn no longer valued as a professional networking space

Guild research shows that LinkedIn is no longer considered a space for networking with valued professional connections. Deterred by the public newsfeed and the intrusion of advertising, users complain that it has become more about sales, marketing and recruitment than providing connections that add value to their career:

  • 62% of LinkedIn users surveyed say that less than 21% of their LinkedIn connections have provided value to their personal career
  • 45% agree that LinkedIn has become more about sales and marketing than professional networking
  • 59% say that LinkedIn is mostly about recruitment
  • 28% find LinkedIn full of spam

Meaningful connections: The ‘Dunbar Number’

Guild not only takes inspiration from the guilds of medieval times, as places for professionals to connect and learn, but is also influenced by a more recent anthropological concept: the ‘Dunbar Number’.

Research by Professor Robin Dunbar, who is on Guild’s Advisory Board, shows that humans cannot sustain more than around 150 relationships at any one time. This insight has been fundamental to Guild building a professional networking platform focused on quality over quantity.

Ashley Friedlein added:
If the past twelve months have taught us anything, it’s our need to be connected to others both personally and professionally. But professional networking is not simply a numbers game and certainly not about collecting likes, followers or friends. We’re all realising the need to focus more on the relationships that actually matter rather than chasing connections for the sake of it.

Our new discoverable profiles will help professionals who are both weary and wary of other platforms to restart their little black book afresh within a safe, secure and professional environment.

Building valuable connections with Guild

Guild members have utilised the platform to grow their businesses and unlock new opportunities, making high quality connections through the shared groups they belong to.

Darryl Sparey, Managing Director & Co-Founder, Hard Numbers stated: "We're fortunate that Hard Numbers, a performance-driven marketing and communications consultancy, is growing fast and we're looking for great talent to join us. We've recruited three people to our team, at no cost, via groups we belong to on Guild where the quality of members is amazingly high."

Lawrence Mitchell, Founder and CEO RAW Energy and Finding EQUILIBRIUM said:
"One of the bi-products of Guild group membership is finding new business around the world. Despite RAW Energy being based in Sydney, we won a great project with the Global division of Unilever based out of London, helping their e-commerce teams to build inner resilience and wellbeing in the face of the pandemic and changing consumer needs. This came directly from a conversation in a Guild group of digital executives we belong to."

Organisations already using Guild include: Leaders in Sport, Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), National Education Union (NEU), the Liberal Democrats, B2B Marketing, Risk Leadership Network,  Legal Support Network, and Digital Boost.

To find out more about Guild, or to join for free, visit


About Guild

Guild is an app for professional groups, networks, organisations, and communities who want the advantages of messaging - ease of use, immediacy, intimacy, engagement - but who also care about proper privacy, quality, legal compliance, and professional standards of support and service. It is as easy to use as WhatsApp but advertising-free, and GDPR compliant.

Guild was co-founded by Ashley Friedlein and Matthew O’Riordan. They realised that none of the messaging apps or social media platforms (Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook and LinkedIn Groups being most common in the West) offer the right kind of environments for professionals to connect and collaborate. Their focus is instead on harvesting behavioural data to sell more ads.

Ashley and Matthew wanted to create a new kind of ad-free, private, professional digital communications platform. A safe space to communicate, connect and collaborate for people who value their professional networks and their personal data.

For more on the founding story, see:

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