If you’re spent any time on TikTook currently, then you definitely’ve most likely seen a lot of Popl’s advertisements. The startup has been efficiently leveraging social media to get its modern-day enterprise card different in entrance a wider viewers. Packaged as both a cellphone sticker, keychain or wristband, Popl makes use of NFC expertise to make sharing contact data as straightforward as utilizing Apple Pay. To date, Popl has offered someplace over 700,000 items and has generated $2.7 million in gross sales for its digital enterprise card expertise.
Popl co-founder and CEO Jason Alvarez-Cohen, a UCLA grad with a background in laptop science, first realized the potential for NFC enterprise playing cards via a unique use case — a tool he encountered in somebody’s house whereas attending a celebration. But it sparked the concept to make use of NFC expertise for sharing data person-to-person, which might be quicker than options, like AirDrop or guide entry. And so, Popl was born.
Image Credits: Popl
Though startup historical past is affected by would-be “business card killers” that finally died, what makes Popl completely different from early contenders is that it combines each an app with a bodily product — the Popl accent. This accent might be bought in a wide range of kind components, together with the favored Popl cellphone sticker that you could apply proper to the again of your cellphone case (and even the highest of your Popsocket), and customised with a photograph of your selecting.
“I knew that, in the past, people would tap phones and share information like that. But I learned quickly that you can’t do this just phone-to-phone with pure software,” says Alvarez-Cohen. “So I was like, what’s the closest way we can get the phone tapping? And that’s how I came up with this back-of-the-phone product.”
Each Popl accent is definitely an NFC tag which allows the handoff of the consumer’s contact data. When the telephones are shut, the recipient will get a notification that alerts them to your shared Popl information.
There are, in fact, different methods to shortly alternate contact data. You can simply enter in somebody’s digits into your cellphone’s contacts app instantly, for instance, which can work higher for extra informal encounters — like assembly somebody at a bar. But Popl allows you to share a full enterprise playing cards’ value of contact information with only a faucet, which makes it higher for skilled encounters, or some other time you need to share extra than simply your cellphone quantity.
While the Popl tags make for a pleasant gimmick, the Popl cellular app is what makes the general service helpful. And to be clear, the app is barely vital for the Popl’s proprietor — the recipient doesn’t want the app put in for Popl to work. They will, nonetheless, must have a cellphone that may learn NFC tags, which might omit some older units. Or, as a backup, they’ll want capacity to scan the QR code the app offers as a workaround.
Image Credits: Popl
In the Popl app, you possibly can customise which information you need to share with others — together with your contact data, social profiles, web site hyperlinks, and so forth. — all by way of an easy-to-use interface. Like some enterprise card apps prior to now, you possibly can flip in between a private profile and a enterprise profile in Popl with a view to share the suitable data when out networking. To truly make the alternate of contact data with one other individual, you merely maintain up your cellphone to theirs and so they’ll get a notification directing them to your Popl profile webpage. (The telephones don’t should bodily contact or bump collectively, nonetheless. It’s extra like Apple Pay, the place they should be close to one another.)
From the Popl web site that’s shared by way of the notification that pops up, the recipient can faucet on the varied choices to attach with the sender — for instance, including them on a social community like LinkedIn or Instagram, grabbing their cellphone quantity to ship a fast textual content, and even downloading a full contact card to their cellphone’s handle ebook, amongst different issues.
Image Credits: Popl
The app’s extra intelligent function, nonetheless, is one thing Popl calls “Direct.”
This patented function gained’t ship over the Popl web site the place the recipient then has to decide on how they need to join. Instead, it opens up the vacation spot app instantly. For instance, you probably have LinkedIn Direct on, the recipient will probably be taken on to your profile on LinkedIn once they faucet the notification. Or should you put your Contact Card on Direct, it can simply pop your handle ebook entry onto the display so the consumer can select to reserve it to their cellphone.
For paid customers, the app additionally allows you to monitor your historical past of Popl connections on a map, so you possibly can recall who you met, the place and when, together with different analytics.
Image Credits: Popl
Work on Popl, which is co-founded by Alvarez-Cohen’s UCLA roommate, Nick Eischens, now Popl COO, started in late 2019. The startup then launched in February 2020 — simply earlier than the coronavirus lockdowns within the U.S. That may have been a disastrous time for a enterprise designed to assist individuals alternate data throughout in-person conferences when the world was now shifting to Zoom and distant work. But Alvarez-Cohen says they marketed Popl as a “contactless solution.”
“If I have this, and I have to meet someone for my business, I don’t even have to tap it — you can just hover, and it will still send that information,” Alvarez-Cohen says. “So I’m able to share my business card with you without handing you a business card, which is kind of safe.”
But what actually helped to promote Popl had been its video demos. One TikTook advert, which I’m positive you’ve seen should you use TikTook in any respect, options the co-founders’ pal Arev sharing her TikTook profile with a brand new pal simply as she’s leaving the fitness center.
In the video, the recipient — clearly dumbfounded by the expertise after she faucets his cellphone — responds “what? what? Whoa! What? How’d you do that?!”
It’s now been considered over 80 million occasions.
Today, Popl’s TikTook movies get excessive tens of 1000’s, a whole lot of 1000’s, and typically nonetheless thousands and thousands of views per video. The firm additionally has an lively presence on different social media. For occasion, Popl posts often to Instagram the place it has over 100Ok followers. Today, the startup’s progress now’s about 60% pushed by Facebook and Instagram advertising and 40% natural, Alvarez-Cohen says.
Now, the corporate is getting ready new merchandise for the post-pandemic period when in-person occasions return. Though it had earlier than offered Popl’s in bulk for this objective, it’s now readying an “event bracelet” that simply slips in your wrist (and is reusable). The bracelet could possibly be used at any huge occasion — like music festivals or enterprise conferences, the place you’re assembly quite a lot of new individuals. And as a result of Popl makes use of NFC, telephones should be near make the contact data alternate — it gained’t simply randomly share your data with everybody you cross by them.
Popl can be fleshing out the enterprise networking facet of its app with integrations for Salesforce, Oracle and Hubspot, and CSV export, that include its Popl Pro subscription ($4.99 per thirty days). The in-app subscription is already at $320,000 in annual recurring income and rising 10% each week, as of early April.
A Y Combinator Winter 2021 participant, Popl is backed by Twitch co-founder Justin Kan (by way of Goat Capital), YC, Urban Innovation Fund, Cathexis Ventures, and others angels together with Wish.com CEO Peter Szulczewski and Plangrid co-founder Ralph Gootee.
The app is offered on iOS and Android, and the Popl equipment are offered on its web site and on Target.com.