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CoffeeChat Cafe - Bringing People, Innovation and Opportunities together

The CoffeeChat Café is a social media application that facilitates "coffee chats” conversations for youth, entrepreneurs, retirees, recruiters, experienced professionals around the world.

Photo of Bernice Chan

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This concept is developed based on three observations:

Observation 1: “Youths often lack access to local and global network, information and opportunities” 

Observation 2: “Cafes and Coffee shops have the ability to bring people together”.  In many places around the world, local cafés and coffee shops (or local equivalent e.g. tea shops) are popular places of gathering, especially for youths. 

Observation 3: “Coffee Chat is an invaluable networking tool”.  A simple coffee chat, whether it is with a friend or an industry professional, can ignite a productive, creative conservation, can enable sharing and development of ideas, can facilitate professional and personal development and can open doors to exciting new opportunities

The Concept: 

The CoffeeChat Café’s goal is to provide an interactive environment for youth, entrepreneurs, retirees, recruiters, experienced professionals around the world to come together and participate in a series of “coffee chats” (20-30 min conversations) 

How will it work?

Create a CoffeeChat Café Account: First, to access the CoffeeChat Café, users will have to create CoffeeChat Café account. Each account is associated with a Linkedin profile. The application uses the Linkedin data to build the CoffeeChat Café Profile, which can be viewed by other users on the CoffeeChat Café network. 

Formulate your “CoffeeChat” Ask(s):  As part CoffeeChat Café profile, users will need to input their “CoffeeChat” Ask(s) (i.e. what is one specific thing you want to get out of coffee chat).  For example of a CoffeeChat Ask might be “to learn more about that it is like to be a Product Designer”

Key Features:

1. Match & Connect – Based on the Linkedin data (e.g. location, professional experiences, interests, 1st/2nd connections, skills and endorsements) and the CoffeeChat Ask(s), the application will match and suggest potential coffee chat opportunities for users. Based on the suggested coffee chat opportunities, the user (i.e. the Host) can initiate a coffee chat by sending out a “Coffee Chat” invite to the individual or groups he or she would like to have a coffee chat with. If the Invitee accepts, the application will ask the Host and the Invitee to indicate their availability over the next two weeks. If they are unable to find a time that works, they can defer the meeting to a later time (This invite will be saved in the profile and can be reinitiated at another time). 

Host and invitee(s) can decide whether they would like to meet in-person or virtually via eCafe ( an interactive, easy to use platform that facilitates virtual coffee chats)​​


2. Build Credibility, Trust & Reputation - Similar to the Yelp and Tripadvisor websites, users can build their credibility, trust  and reputation based on

  • The number of coffee chats they have participated in
  • Ratings - How others have rated their coffee chat experiences with them (Note: At the end of each coffee chat, host and invitee will have the opportunity to rate each other on their coffee chat experience)
  • Endorsements (Note: Based on their coffee chat experiences,  the host/Invitee can provide each other skills/experiences endorsements)

3.  CoffeeChat Referrals -  Users can use the CoffeeChat Cafe application to provide referrals and explore referral oppotunities

4. CoffeeChat "Tip of Day" - User can provide subscribe to "CoffeeChat Tip of Day" and learn quick tips on how to have a effective Coffee Chat conservation

5.  Find a Coffee Chat Event Near You - Around the world,  universities, companies, local community groups and special interests groups often organize coffee chat events. Based on the information in the CoffeeChat Cafe profile,  the application will notify  the users of any coffee chat events that may be happnening in their local community  or  coffee chat events that may align with the user's interests or experiences.

6. eCafe Events:  Based on the “CoffeeChat asks”, the application will identify common themes/topics that users are interested in. On a weekly basis, the application will host eCafe events to facilitate virtual coffee chat conversations on these key topics/themes (e.g. eCafe event on Design Thinking opportunities around the world).

Early Prototyping

At this early stage, we will prototype to answer the following questions:
  • Are people willing to engage in coffee chat conversation with people they do not know or even people who might not be connected to their existing network?
  • What is their preferred format for coffee chat meetings (in-person, virtual)?
  • What are some of the key concerns and considerations when using a social media application like CoffeeChat Café?
  • How do people identify potential Coffee Chat opportunities? (e.g. common interests, workplaces, life experiences etc..)

Prototype Idea #1:
• Map the process of how a typical user will engage with CoffeeChat Café application
• Go to schools and local cafes, walk through the process with members of the community  and seek feedback

Prototype Idea #2:
• Create a group on Linkedin/Facebook to bring together people who might be interested in engaging in coffee chat conversations. Test out the different ways to convene users and meeting format (e.g. virtually, in-person)

Prototype Idea #3:
• Host or attend a Coffee Chat event in the local community
• Describe the Coffee Chat idea to the people at the event  and seek feedback

Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

The CoffeeChat Cafe designed to help youths (16 to 24 year-olds) around the world gain access to their local and global network, develop skills, bridge the information gaps and explore entrepreneurship/ innovation. Since the Coffee Chat Network is open to everyone, it is important to note that the network also provides benefits to experienced professionals, entrepreneurs, and retirees. Through the CoffeeChat Cafe, experienced professionals can expand their network, develop new interests and skills, practice mentorship and coaching and recruit talent. The CoffeeChat Cafe provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to build a community of entrepreneurs, share best practices, and facilitate innovation. For the retirees, the CoffeeChat Cafe provides the opportunity for them to give back to the community, share their experience, insights and knowledge, stay engage with the community and learn new interests or skills from young people.  

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

By bringing youth, entrepreneurs, retirees, recruiters, experienced professionals together under a common social media platform and providing an interactive environment that facilitates coffee chat conversations around the world, the CoffeeChat Cafe can improves young people's access local and global network and enable them to gain access to potential employment, entrepreneurial and development opportunities.

The idea emerged from:

  • An individual

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to prototype it, find partners and pursue implementation


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sergio Marrero

I know the co-founder of an app called PeopleHunt ( You should connect with him as I think there may be learnings in terms of bringing people together through applications. I believe now he is focused on languages. Difference purpose, but similar concepts.

Photo of Bernice Chan

Thank you so much for the link and the contact. I look forward to learning more about the PeopleHunt Initiative and see how some of the learnings can be applied to the CoffeeChat Café idea.



Photo of priyanka botny

Hi Bernice,
Great Idea!!
Check out this one :
Who are your premium based customers?
Love to know more about your implementation plan .

Photo of Bernice Chan

Thank you for sharing the link and OpenCoffee Club concept. I would like to learn more about their experiences and to build on this idea.

Since the application relies on LinkedIn for key information, for now, the CoffeeChat Cafe will target primarily on Linkedin users (but with special focus on youths, retirees, experienced professionals, entrepreneurs), and try to bring them together based on their common interests and experiences.

Thank you for your support and insights. Really appreciate it.


Photo of Liz Duffy

Excellent idea and your description gave me a very clear sense of the logistics, potential and value of your idea. I appreciate how you made use of existing services -- e.g.Linked-in profiles, and borrowed ideas that have worked, such a rating system for participants. Good luck.

Photo of Bernice Chan

Thank you for your support, Liz! Really appreciate it

Photo of wekesa zab

Hi Bernice, I like this line of thought, u might wanna check out - Misfit Cafe-


Photo of Bernice Chan

Hi Wekesa,

Thank you for your feedback and the link. The Misfit Café sounds like a very interesting idea! I'm excited to learn more about the project.

Photo of Luisa Fernanda

I love the simple premise of your idea. I wonder if you could try it out without the app and/or tablets in your area and see what you would learn. How would you convene users? Could you use existing social media channels to start the conversation?
Excited to see where this idea goes,
You might also want to check out this idea which is slightly similar to get insights and collaborate:

Photo of Bernice Chan

Hi Luisa,

Thank you so much for your insight and suggestions. I definitely agree with you. One of the key challenges is figure out how to get the users to start the conversation. As you suggested, there are definitely lots of opportunity to leverage on existing social media channels , like LinkedIn, that can help build credibility, trust and a common ground/interests for users to start a coffee chat conservation. I'll definitely like to explore and build on this thought.

Thank you so much for your help! Really appreciate this.