A NEW one-to-one skill-sharing platform is launching today to showcase “home-grown talent”.

Vermouth brand Regal Rogue founder Mark Ward, 44, from Hove, has created a peer-to-peer e-learning platform called Pigeon.

Pigeon takes off officially today, Tuesday, two years after Mark had the idea during the first Covid lockdown.

The web app aims to help “unlock the potential of domestic talent” by connecting people online to learn or share skills and get paid in the process. 

Live one-to-one video chats enable “sharers” to pass on their knowledge and expertise about a range of passions, hobbies and interests. 

“Learners” can improve existing skills or discover new ones, asking questions and receiving personalised feedback and demonstrations through video chats. 

The Argus: Mark WardMark Ward

The platform will initially focus on food and drink skills but will broaden into handicrafts, DIY, languages, home fitness and wellbeing, based on community feedback.

Mark has pulled together a team to showcase talent in the Brighton technology community from DabApps as development partner, Addmustard digital marketing and Fugu for PR.  

He credits his parents as the inspiration behind the platform, saying: “I grew up watching my mum run her own businesses, all centred around caring for other people and being part of a community, and my father who has mastered his passion of handicrafts and woodwork.

“Sometimes my mum was running meals to elderly people for her domestic care agency, other times she was blowing up balloons on the weekends for parties. 

“To this day, she continues to share with others. 

The Argus: PIGEON Founder, Mark Ward with his parents in their family homePIGEON Founder, Mark Ward with his parents in their family home

 “Meanwhile, I’ve spent 20 years working in the hospitality industry, founding Regal Rogue in 2011. 

“Throughout this time, I’ve been contacted by friends and family to walk them through recipes or discuss party ideas. 

“Supporting each other and sharing is human nature. 

“We all have people we turn to for their tips and advice within our friend and family networks so why not unlock that potential and allow people to monetise their homegrown talents?” 

Mark says that after the last two years people are now more comfortable with video calls, and happier to open up their homes and the realities of their lives virtually.

At the same time, he says many are looking to become financially self-sufficient as a consequence of being put on furlough, losing their jobs or reclaiming a better work-life balance. 

The Argus:

The rising cost of living is also encouraging people to look for new ways to top up their income. 

Mark said: “With Pigeon, there’s no need to upskill, there’s no uniform or equipment to buy. 

“You can share at home from your kitchen, at a time that suits you. 

“It’s a generational ritual to share expertise in a family and so many people have this intrinsic knowledge, having spent a lifetime nurturing their passions and hobbies. 

“There’s monetary value in that and our platform lets people harness it. 

“Pigeon is for everyone – no matter your age or background. We believe everyone has a talent worthy of sharing – even if you don’t know it yet.”

In the current time of social endorsement, Mark is not specifically interested in numbers of followers or perceived influence. 

He said: “The most influential person in your life might have zero Instagram followers. 

“My 98-year-old grandma taught me so much and was the most influential person in my life and she wasn’t on social media.

The Argus:

“Pigeon is different to other sharing platforms – our ambition is for the community to form around the interaction of skills between family and friends. 

“Each sharer and learner will be encouraged to shape our Pigeon growth and development through feedback and comments."

The brand also aims to use its technology to ensure everyone has access to learning, with a dedicated purpose over profit fund. 

Five per cent of monthly plans will be invested each month and the “Pigeon flock” will decide what happens to that money.

People can learn with Pigeon from £4.99 per month or "pay as you chat".

Sharers can set their own hourly rate starting at £12 an hour. The more they share, the more they can earn.

To register visit: https://pigeon.me/