While we were still in stealth mode building a great contact management product, we realized that the humble business card is not dead yet. We wanted to build a comprehensive product that provides users with a one-stop shop for contact management. The three main pillars of the solution are:
- Consolidating and cleaning the contacts in one place
- Providing the most up to date contact information – no more stale contacts in your address book
- Synchronizing clean, complete and up-to-date contacts back to the users’ preferred applications
Initially we concentrated on integration with all the popular digital repositories of contact information like LinkedIn, Outlook, Gmail, etc. However, as we surveyed our early beta users we discovered that printed business cards were still a significant source of new contact information. If we wanted to offer a truly comprehensive contact management solution, we were going to have to provide a means for inputting printed business cards.
Mobile business card scanners are some of the most popular business applications. These apps come in two flavors. The first type are those that use transcription based services, where the user takes a picture of the business card and then a human being transcribes the information into digital format, such as Card Munch (owned by LinkedIn) and Full Contact’s Card Reader. The second type incorporates Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to automatically digitize and index the information directly from the image. We decided that our users would require access to both capabilities.
While we were exploring the options to build, buy or license, we were humbled with how difficult it is to build an OCR engine. Licensing wasn’t cost effective, as some of the known OCR engines were charging $2/download, which is a hard cost to justify in a mainly free app. We looked at the companies with the most popular mobile business scanners and realized that a small company based in New York City called ScanBizCards would be the best candidate for the following reasons:
- Best in category OCR
- ScanBizCards focused on business users
- With over 2 million users using the app, they were consistently in the Top 10 Paid Business Apps
- The team at ScanBizCards was not only technically gifted, but our goals were aligned to provide the best contacts management solution to professionals
After few discussions with Patrick and Danny (the Co-Founders), we realized that ScanBizCards was a perfect fit in terms of vision, personnel and software. CircleBack recently completed the acquisition and integrated the core business card scanning technology in the CircleBack product.
ScanBizCards will continue to function as an independent app. The combined development team released an Enterprise Version of ScanBizCards for Salesforce late last year. In addition, we are excited to share that the teams have been working tirelessly on a new version of the application with a much improved design that will be released in the Google and Apple stores very soon.
We are very excited and look forward to bringing awesome products to our users.