Chattanooga entrepreneur Amna Shah had grown frustrated with old-school business cards, so she created an app that aims to take the hassle out of keeping up with countless paper contacts.
When she traveled a lot for work, she’d collect a business card and it’d go straight to her Rolodex. When she really needed the card, she would inevitably not be near her Rolodex.
“I would just pile it onto my Rolodex and never utilize it,” she said.
But i-Card makes it easy to swap contact information digitally.
There are some apps already on the market that allow users to scan information from business cards to store in a phone, but Shah said they don’t work as well as she’d like.
So she tapped into the resources she has in her other local company, AHS Consulting Inc., which serves freight and logistics industry needs in IT and staffing, to develop i-Card.
The app allows users to share contact information by scanning a QR code that the app creates.
“You put your info in once,” she said. “If you’re traveling and someone has the same technology, just swap info by scanning the QR code. If you update your [information], they get to have the update automatically.”
Whereas the other scanner apps wouldn’t know if someone had changed their phone number or job, i-Card constantly keeps up with that information.
Other features include an option to search by profession, and users can share information via social media.
In addition to personal sign-ups, there’s an option for corporations. So an HR person (or whoever is going to manage the app) can register all the employees’ contact information.
The information is hosted on Amazon servers, so it’s secure, and it’s backed up in the cloud so that if a user loses a phone, their contacts are still there, Shah said.
The app eliminates the worry about running out of business cards; it also saves money and trees, she said.
“I really want people to switch over to this technology so we can connect with … people electronically,” she said.
Once she builds up a solid user base, which also will build value, she can work to monetize the app, which is free now.
“I want to keep it ad-free,” she also said.
But eventually, other options such as group chatting might be available for a small fee.
“It will still be so cost-effective that it would be beating the business card costs,” she said.