We’ve spent a bunch of time over the last year meeting people at conferences, networking events and business meetings. Whether I’m attending one of the more than 100 CASE events annually, Jesse Bardo is leading a social media discussion (like this event at Landon School on May 10th), or our CTO Eric Carlstrom is working the room at a Mobile Monday Boston event, we’ve still been relegated to exchanging contact information in the same manner that has been employed by business associates since the 1500s.
While companies like Hashable, Bump and LinkedIn strive to enable virtual exchange of contact information, it’s safe to assume that business cards won’t be going away any time soon. Just last year, VistaPrint averaged over 52,000 orders per day and generated approximately $250 million from the sale of business cards alone.
Until recently, most of my cards would pile up in networking purgatory until I either got really ambitious and transcribed them or I gave up and declared “business card bankruptcy” (a cousin of Email Bankruptcy) and disposed of them.
CardMunch is a mobile business card transcription service that automatically recognizes, captures, transcribes, and creates a contact in the CardMunch user’s phone.
That’s a fancy way of saying that CardMunch is really useful. Here’s how it works:
1) I take a picture of a business card via the CardMunch iPhone App
2) CardMunch workers transcribe the card details
3) The new contact card is stored in my phone
4) Bonus: you can connect with your CardMunch contacts via LinkedIn
Here is a video of CardMunch in action:
Recently, we’ve been fortunate to chat with the co-founders of CardMunch, Bowei Gai, Sid Viswanathan and Sudeep Yegnashankaran via an introduction from CardMunch investor and TechStars mentor Ty Danco. CardMunch was acquired by LinkedIn in late January, but the team is continuing to build innovative mobile networking solutions.
The founders are loyal alumni of Carnegie Mellon, and the CardMunch story is not only an example of a great mobile utility, but also a case study in how schools can support young alumni in their entrepreneurial efforts.
Here’s an excerpt of the team’s perspective on the CMU network:
“CardMunch is really a story of the power of the CMU network,” said Yegnashankaran.
“From the get-go, the CMU network was invaluable — for finding everything from legal help to equipment to talented student contributors,” added Gai, already a veteran of another successful CMU startup, Snapture Labs.
“For advice, I could go to so many of the great mentors I had at school. Everyone was so available and supportive. It was amazing.”
Before your next conference, do yourself a favor and download CardMunch. Your desk will be clean and your mobile rolodex will be full in no time!