Something has got the business world talking. Something that could see the rolodex consigned to the trash can once and for all. That thing is CardMunch, a startup that aims to take over where Hashable left off.
Anyone working media jobs or within the tech world generally will no doubt have heard of CardMunch already. This nifty little app claims to do away with paper business cards once and for all by converting their printed content into digital information using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. All you need to do is take a snapshot of the card and CardMunch will do the rest.
Perhaps the biggest coup for CardMunch though has been its acquisition by LinkedIn, which allows it to access the information of LinkedIn members. This means that when you snap or ‘munch’ a new card, CardMunch will pull that person’s contact and employment details, and even any shared contacts, straight in from LinkedIn. The app even keeps the photo of the card as a backup and will file contact automatically in an alphabetical list. Neat huh?
A match made in heaven, CardMunch was bought by the networking giant for $2.4 million and now has access to its 150 million users, which saw the number of cards scanned daily, go through the roof. In fact the number of cards munched so far stands at over two million.
CardMunch and LinkedIn – the Perfect Couple
The whole idea behind the company – digitizing the contact details of professionals, meant there would be a collision with LinkedIn at some point, as founder Sid Viswanathan explains.
“We had to work with LinkedIn. We knew LinkedIn would be part of our success whether we worked with them or not.”
This is a conundrum many startups encounter – they will have to either beat or join the big boys at some point. And let’s face it, beating them is unlikely. Most new tech businesses will have to knock on the door of Facebook for its social graph, Google for its search data, LinkedIn for its network or Twitter for its Firehose – the endless stream of millions of raw, real-time tweets that spew from the micro blogging site every day. Heck, even Spotify and Netflix have signed on the dotted line for access to Facebook’s open graph.
Tinkering with APIs
The CardMunch team began ‘dabbling’ with LinkedIn’s APIs, but found the process frustrating.
We wanted a deeper level of access to all their APIs,” said co-founder Sudeep Yegnashankaran. “We knew there were things they could offer us, so we tried to get as much access to LinkedIn because that’s what our users wanted.”
The team began attending LinkedIn developer meetings, not to network, but to learn how they could achieve the level of integration they craved. They wanted to remain independent; but somewhat ironically, this is when LinkedIn came calling.
“Several of us were using this app, and we liked it,” said LinkedIn’s SVP of product Deep Nichar. “So we went and found the team. Now, the latest version of CardMunch seamlessly integrates LinkedIn profile data and invitation functionality.”
Everyone involved in the CardMunch phenomenon agrees it has the potential to be truly groundbreaking, but what does it bring to the party for LinkedIn?
Well, CardMunch has allowed the company to effectively make the archaic paper business card a thing of the past and take those vital steps toward making the 1950s Rolodex obsolete.