SPARTX Recreates the Business Card

Comment from theodore calhoun tanner jr:

I got mine!

SpartX takes business cards digital
April 13, 2009
By Allan Maurer

AKIN, SOUTH CAROLINA – The business card—that little palm-sized billboard we all use—dates back to 15th century China. South Carolina startup SpartX thinks it’s ready for a 21st century makeover. The company lets users develop a virtual business card to enhance their networking power.

SpartX members begin by developing a virtual business card, which takes a few minutes. They upload a document or fill out a SpartX resume to accompany the virtual business card. They then drive new contacts to the site by emailing a clickable virtual business to others, and by incorporating a SpartX web address into a tangible business card. Once networking, users can manage their SpartX card with the Card Slider, which is a virtual Rolodex.

Steve Gonzalez, co-founder and COO tells TechJournal South that while he was in business school, a prof told him, “The two most important things you’ll learn in college: first, acquire a tasted for Scotch. Second, learn to play golf.”

Gonzalez points out, “He was trying to tell us we need to learn to get out and network.”

While still in college, he and his co founders saw the onset of the social networking sites My Space and Facebook and others and “We thought, hey we can make this a business.”

Although they began working on the company in their college apartment three years ago, they formally launched SpartX in August last year and raised more than $100,000 from family and friends.

The company hopes to raise a second round of from $500,000 to $1 million, the amount depending on the terms the company can get.

The basic idea of the virtual card is not to replace the traditional 2 inch by 3 inch cards, but to make it possible to show contacts more information then they allow.

“Business cards do different things for each person,” says CEO and co-founder Cutter Mitchell. “You may be connecting with someone you can sell to or with someone you want to partner with.” For that reason, the SpartX service lets users build a business card site tailored to what they’re doing with the card. The site might include a resume for a job hunter or a business plan executive summary for an investor, or a product pitch for potential client.

“The site can be anything you need it to be,” says Mitchell.

The company provides a number of background templates for card design. Users plug in their information.

Mitchell says the virtual cards can be a particularly useful tool for job hunters. “People don’t carry their resumes around in their pockets and it’s a little tacky to hand someone you meet a resume. This way, you hand them your card and build out your resume behind it. It’s a subtler way of giving someone your credentials.”

Mitchell says one of the company’s challenges was figuring out how to email a dynamic business card and getting it past spam protection. “We do it as an image,” he says. “It works 98 percent of the time.

The company is still in its first few months of beta testing, although it already has about 100 paying customers. They sell the service for a monthly subscription fee.

What lessons have they learned launching a company in the current economy?

“What haven’t we learned,” asks Mitchell. “We’ve had our trials and tribulations. It’s never as easy as you think it might be. You have to be dogged. You have to be passionate about it and push forward.”

“Our real passion is networking and how it can help people’s lives,” says Gonzalez.


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