“Here, take my card”, is a phrase that some of us say everyday and others wish they said every day. Even the most humble of souls can’t deny the feeling that comes with seeing our names proudly displayed on a business card. Yet as networking channels continue to multiply, even this time-old tradition may have to evolve to keep up with the times, and Israeli Near Field Communication (NFC) business card startup TapMyBiz may just be a good solution.
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TapMyBiz takes the antiquated concept of paper business cards and seeks to transform them by inserting NFC technology and making all of the card’s information accessible on mobile devices. With the swipe of a phone or tablet, that is if they aren’t made by Apple, a potential client or employer can access any information you want them to know about you that’s on the card. Hence the name ‘TapMyBiz’: the tapping of a mobile device to a business card that then taps into whatever you want people to know about you.
NFC is the savvy way to be
Daniel Javor, CEO of TapMyBiz, came up with the idea for a ‘smart’ business card as a young and burgeoning startup developer. While mingling at a high-tech conference, Javor collected and handed out hundreds of business cards to potential investors with the hope of making his startup a reality. Yet in the aftermath of the conference networking events, Javor couldn’t seem to remember, amidst the mountain of business cards, which card was whose. That’s when he was struck with the idea for NFC business cards.
Although NFC is already an essential technology for the transfer of information onto phones, when Javor began his quest to create an electronic business card in 2010, the technology was still in its infancy. From the beginning, Javor’s idea wasn’t to completely digitalize the business card away from its paper form, but to add a spin on the traditional act of handing out business cards.
TapMyBiz cards look like regular business card from the outside (except for a bit of added paper thickness), but on the inside there is a surprise – an “invisible” NFC chip. The chip, which TapMyBiz claims is its unique contribution to the business card world, can hold over 1,000 characters of information, including email addresses and links to anything relevant about the business that is accessible by touching it to a phone. When a NFC-compatible phone (most smartphones and tablets, besides Apple products) is brought in close contact with the card, the phone automatically picks up all of the information on the card, and instantly saves it. The connection made between the NFC chip and the phone occurs without having to download an app or any kind of software, making the technology easily accessible to anyone.
Tapping into a trend
Javor explained what he believes are the benefits of entering someone’s life through their phone: “When you look for investors or business partners, it is so difficult to remember everyone you meet and what they have to offer. If you received an NFC business card, however, that person will probably stick out in your mind and you will check out what that person has to offer.” According to Javor, TapMyBiz users add a variety of media to their card in order to impress potential clients, from links to YouTube videos to friend requests on your Facebook account.
Before NFC came along, the hot technology for downloading information onto phones was QR codes, those square barcodes that are on almost everything these days, including business cards. The major difference between NFC cards and cards printed with a QR code is that the latter require a bit more work on the receiver’s end. In order to access the information from the QR code, users need to install an application and to photograph the code in the right setting. The codes, which usually need to be pretty big to capture, take up more business card real estate and can take away from the aesthetic feel of the card. However, they are cheaper to make and the technology is more familiar.
But TapMyBiz is not the sole provider for NFC business cards, with print companies like MOO in the United States offering a number of business card design options, one of them being the addition of NFC cards. Another growing provider is NameBump, also from the US, but the obvious downside of the NFC craze is that the technology is currently inaccessible on Apple products, a fact that most likely limits the appeal of these juiced-up and slightly expensive business cards. Until Apple decides to develop NFC capable devices, the real value of NFC business card startups, like TapMyBiz, has yet to be determined.
TapMyBiz and spread the word
Javor admitted that the majority of demand for TapMyBiz’s product comes from the United States, and larger companies. Of course, there are obvious benefits for this kind of card in the high-tech and creative worlds that use the internet as their portfolio, but individuals excited about the technology also order personal NFC cards to store 1,000 characters of their basic information. “Our vision is to revolutionize the way people network,” said Javor, “and NFC business cards definitely add interesting twist to those quick and often awkward encounters.”
So far, TapMyBiz has not launched any major marketing campaigns for their product and have counted on word-of-mouth marketing from their clients. “The beauty of business cards is that it is a product that people automatically hand out,” Javor explained, but with a number of competitors in the midst, TapMyBiz may have to partner up and target the market more aggressively in order to keep the startup alive.
Currently, TapMyBiz does not have any major partnerships or clients but Javor says they are experiencing a positive cash flow.