Popl surpasses $ 2.7 million in sales for its technology that replaces business cards – TechCrunch


If you’ve been spending time on TikTok lately, you’ve probably seen a number of Popl ads. the Start has successfully harnessed social media to bring its modern business card alternative to a wider audience. Packaged as Phone Sticker, Keychain or Wristband, Popl uses NFC technology to make sharing contact information as easy as using Apple Pay. To date, Popl has sold over 700,000 units and generated $ 2.7 million in sales for its digital business card technology.

Popl Co-founder and CEO Jason Alvarez-Cohen, a UCLA graduate with a computer background, first realized the potential of NFC business cards through a different use case – a device he encountered at someone’s house at a party. But it sparked the idea of ​​using NFC technology to share information person-to-person, which would be faster than alternatives, like AirDrop or manual entry. And so, Popl was born.

Image credits: Popl

While startup history is littered with so-called ‘business card killers’ who ultimately died, what differentiates Popl from the early competitors is that it combines both an app and a physical product – the Popl accessory. This accessory can be purchased in a variety of form factors, including the popular Popl Phone Sticker which you can apply directly to the back of your phone case (or even the top of your PopSocket), and personalized with a photo of your choice.

“I knew that in the past people used phones and shared information like that. But I quickly realized that you can’t do this just phone-to-phone with pure software, ”says Alvarez-Cohen. “So I [wondered to myself], what is the closest way to get the phone bugged? And that’s how I imagined this product on the back of the phone. “

Each Popl accessory is actually an NFC tag that allows the transfer of the user’s contact information. When the phones are closed, the recipient will receive a notification that notifies them of your shared Popl data.

There are of course other ways to quickly exchange contact information. You can easily enter someone’s numbers right into your phone’s Contacts app, for example, which may work best for more casual encounters, like meeting someone at a bar. But Popl lets you share the contact data of a full business card with just a touch, making it best for business meetings or any other time you want to share more than your phone number.

While Popl tags are a good gadget, the Popl mobile app is what makes the overall service useful. And to be clear, the app is only required for the owner of Popl – the recipient does not need the app installed for Popl to work. However, they will need a telephone can read NFC tags, which may leave out some older devices. Or, as a backup, they’ll need the ability to scan the QR code provided by the app as a workaround.

Image credits: Popl

In the Popl app, you can customize what data you want to share with others – including your contact details, social profiles, website links, and more. – all via an easy-to-use interface. Like some business card apps in the past, you can switch between a personal profile and a company profile in Popl to share the appropriate information when you are on a network. To actually exchange contact information with another person, all you need to do is hold your phone in front of theirs and they’ll receive a notification directing them to your Popl profile webpage. (However, the phones don’t need to physically touch or bump each other. It’s more like Apple Pay, where they need to be close to each other.)

From the Popl website, which is shared via the notification that appears, the recipient can tap on the various options to connect with the sender – for example, adding them on a social network like LinkedIn or Instagram, entering their number to send a quick text, or even download a full contact card into their phone’s address book, among other things.

Image credits: Popl

However, the smartest feature of the app is something Popl calls “Direct”.

This patented feature will not send the Popl website where the recipient then has to choose how they want to connect. Instead, it directly opens the destination app. For example, if you’ve enabled LinkedIn Direct, the recipient will be taken directly to your profile on LinkedIn when they tap the notification. Or if you put your contact card on Direct, it will just bring up your address book entry on the screen so the user can choose to save it to their phone.

For paid users, the app also lets you track your Popl connection history on a map, so you can remember who you met, where and when, and other analytics.

Image credits: Popl

Work on Popl, co-founded by Alvarez-Cohen’s roommate at UCLA, Nick Eischens, now CEO of Popl, began in late 2019. The startup was then launched in February 2020 – just before the coronavirus lockdowns in the States. -United. It could have been a disastrous time for a company designed to help people exchange information in face-to-face meetings as the world now shifted to Zoom and working remotely. But Alvarez-Cohen claims to have 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 touch them – you can just hover, and they’ll still send that information,” Alvarez-Cohen says. “So I can share my business card with you without getting over it, which is for sure.”

But what really helped sell Popl were its video demos. A TikTok ad, which I’m sure you’ve seen if you use TikTok, introduces the friend of the co-founders Arev shares her TikTok profile with a new friend as she leaves the gym.

In the video, the recipient – clearly stunned by the technology after pressing his phone – answers “What? What? Whoa! What? How did you do that ?!

It has now been viewed over 80 million times.

Today, Popl’s TikTok Videos get tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and sometimes even millions of views per video. The company is also active on other social networks. For example, Popl regularly posts on Instagram, where he has more than 100,000 subscribers. Today, the startup’s growth is around 60% driven by Facebook and Instagram marketing and 40% organic, Alvarez-Cohen says.

Today, the company is preparing new products for the post-pandemic era when in-person events return. Although it has been sold before Popl is in bulk for this purpose, he is now preparing an “event bracelet” which simply slips on your wrist (and is reusable). The bracelet can be used at any big event – like music festivals or business conferences, where you meet a lot of new people. And because Popl uses NFC, phones need to be close in order to exchange contact information – it won’t just randomly share your information with everyone as you pass them.

Popl is also expanding the corporate network side of its app with integrations for Salesforce, Oracle, HubSpot, and CSV export, which accompany its Popl Pro subscription ($ 4.99 per month). The in-app subscription already represents over $ 450,000 in annual recurring revenue and grows by 10% every week, starting in early April.

A participant in AY Combinator Winter 2021, Popl is supported by Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch (via Goat Capital), YC, Urban Innovation Fund, Cathexis Ventures and other angels including Wish.com CEO Peter Szulczewski, and PlanGrid co-founder Ralph Gootee.

The application is available on ios and Android, and Popl accessories are sold on its website and on Target.com.

Update, 4/19/21, 6:45 p.m. ET: Post updated with more current revenue after post.


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