swisscom ventures
swisscom
poken

Swisscom invests $1.8 million in 'social business card' startup Poken

Next Story

Confirmed: AT&T launching the Palm Pixi Plus on June 6th

Swisscom Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Swisscom (Switzerland’s leading telecom operator), is making a strategic investment in Poken. Swisscom is participating in a $1.8 million round, and will be represented on Poken’s Board of Directors by Dominique Mégret, who heads the investment subsidiary.

In a statement, Megret says Poken is “at the nexus of the mobile and events spheres, with unique capabilities relating to NFC, RFID and Social Networking” and that it foresees huge growth for the fledgling company.

Poken bills itself as a ‘social business card’. The company essentially aims to bridge real world and online interactions through social networks. Its products cater mainly to the events and conferences industry, but the company also offer a broader consumer-facing online experience on Poken.com.

Poken manufactures small devices, which can be filled with data like your Facebook and LinkedIn profile information. Two poken palms (or ‘high4’s) can connect simply by being held next to each other, offering a way for people to exchange contact information digitally. In other words: it’s one way to avoid the need to exchange paper business cards.

Here’s how it works: Poken devices can exchange an encrypted code when the palms touch each other. They use a proprietary, low-energy RF-based technology that is both wireless and – according to Poken – completely secure. Ok then.

The startup was founded in December 2007 and headquartered in Lausanne (Switzerland). Poken is now active in over 50 countries worldwide.

According to the press release, the company’s new pokenEVENT service is being used by juggernauts like Adobe, BMW, IBM and Microsoft to host networking events.

The company has two major competitors, both based in Europe: My Name Is E and GetYoo.

  • http://fr.techcrunch.com/2010/05/18/les-clickey-de-getyoo-dematerialisent-lechange-des-cartes-de-visite/ Les Clickey de Getyoo dématérialisent l’échange des cartes de visite

    […] des réseaux sociaux ou professionnels. (MAJ : ils viennent d’annoncer aujourd’hui une levée de 1,8 millions d’euros). Aux Etats-Unis, il existe aussi Mingle360, le créateur du MingleStick, une autre clé USB […]

  • There's an app for that.

    What I still don’t get is why we’d need yet another piece of hardware for that?

    Unless they can surpass iPhone or Android market share (which I honestly doubt), I still don’t see the point.

    So, Poken guys, in case you didn’t get it, yet:

    There’s an app for that.

    • farero

      There’s an (very bad) App for that, but don’t forget you need also 200 milion iPhone distributed in Europe. Only at this moment, there will be an app for that. For the moment there is a 10 euros device, that I like very much.
      ps: there’s an App also for espresso coffee? If yes, Nespresso have to be careful…

      • Frank Winkler

        :-) i like the ps…

        it sounds like the logic of someone who just had the 6th glass of champagne… mixed with the charming french accent of western switzerland :)

      • farero

        ;)

  • eric

    Competitors = Bump?

  • http://blog.poken.com/2010/05/18/latest-news-swisscom-ventures-investing-in-poken/ Latest News: Swisscom Ventures investing in Poken « The Official Poken Blog

    […] Latest News: Swisscom Ventures investing in Poken May 18, 2010 lasimonetta Leave a comment Go to comments Our latest press release has gone out this morning and is already creating a huge amount of buzz, especially on Twitter! This mostly thanks to TechCrunch Europe and US, who has picked it up right away (link to the article to be found here). […]

  • anon

    I cant believe they got funding for such a poorly thought out/executed product. The VC’s must be out of touch.

    • Tim

      Well, Swisscom isn’t really know for being very smart.

  • http://www.poken-business-card.com/swisscom-ventures-investing-poken.html Swisscom Ventures investing in Poken | Poken Business Card

    […] O&#965r latest press release h&#1072&#1109 gone out th&#1110&#1109 morning &#1072n&#1281 &#1110&#1109 already m&#1072k&#1110n&#609 a h&#965&#609&#1077 amount &#959f buzz, especially &#959n Twitter! Th&#1110&#1109 mostly thanks t&#959 TechCrunch Europe &#1072n&#1281 US, wh&#959 h&#1072&#1109 picked &#1110t up straight away (link t&#959 th&#1077 article t&#959 b&#1077 found here). […]

  • http://www.pcartisan.com David1984

    i agree with the first comment, getting past Android or iPhone app is quite difficult as they are having a good hold in the market

  • Blake

    Well, the sweetspot for these gadgets it seems is events, conf, tradeshows, etc where everyone gets one. If everyone used an iPhone and had Bump, might not be a need, but currently there is. Also take a look at RFID usage in cell phones in Japan, usage of “tags”, etc and the SwissCom angle starts to make more sense.

  • John

    Another epic fail from Swisscom…

  • http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com steveballmer

    ZunePhone will do this excellently!

  • http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/05/18/getyoo-launches-the-clickey-for-digital-business-card-exchange/ Getyoo launches the Clickey for digital business card exchange

    […] business cards and add details from the social and professional networks they’re on. Oh, and they just raised €1.8 million. In the US, Mingle360 also develops a similar communicating USB key-like device: the […]

  • Tim

    Has anyone ever seen a poken in the wild? Anyone ever seen one not a conference where they were being given out free?

    Or, for that matter, anyone ever been wildly inconvenienced by the process of telling someone else your twitter handle?

  • http://yoshy.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/links-for-2010-05-18/ links for 2010-05-18 « 個人的な雑記

    […] Swisscom invests $1.8 million in ’social business card’ startup Poken (tags: socialnetworking) […]

  • http://www.pokenyoursocialbusinesscard.com/poken-news/latest-news-swisscom-ventures-investing-in-poken/ Latest News: Swisscom Ventures investing in Poken | Poken Your Social Business Card

    […] Our latest press release has gone out this morning and is already creating a huge amount of buzz, especially on Twitter! This mostly thanks to TechCrunch Europe and US, who has picked it up right away (link to the article to be found here). […]

  • http://www.bizzmoz.com Mike Harrop

    Why should an investment be logical ? With this (tiny) amount of money Swisscom is buying a seat at a cool fashion happening that their younger users love, in an industry where no one has the first clue where it’s going except it will be huge. The tech can be extended for product brochures, med records, phone apps, ticketing apps, ski-passes, security uses, transportation apps, 3D bar-codes, thumb-to-thumb tattoos, biometric readers, lost-phone auto backup, military, canteen management, and a thousand others no one’s thought of yet. Any number of strategically concerned future partners like Logitech, Nestlé, McDonald’s, Adidas could get involved in an exit if Poken goes public. And if Swisscom doesn’t get a 10x return, it’s using the wrong investment bank. Swisscom probably has all the same tech spread around its endless labs, but this focuses it all in one place. Don’t judge Poken on today. What you’re looking at now is no longer just Poken, but Poken+Swisscom plus a bunch of others that will start to gravitate into this node. Don’t forget, tiny western Switzerland is one of the world’s most intense concentrations of creativity. Of course you’ll be able to get all the same stuff on your phone, but like you can carry all your diamonds on your necklace, it’s nice to have one on your finger too. There’s a need for both.

  • http://www.deutsche-startups.de/2010/05/19/lesenswert-shortgps-risikokapitalgeber-mister-spex-chefgourmet-evian-mr-wong-swisscom-poken-nugg-ad-zynga-facebook/ Lesenswert: shortGPS, VC-Kapital, Mister Spex, chefgourmet, Mister Wong, Poken, nugg.ad, Zynga :: deutsche-startups.de

    […] Swisscom invests $1.8 million in ’social business card’ startup Poken Swisscom Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Swisscom (Switzerland’s leading telecom operator), is making a strategic investment in Poken. Swisscom is participating in a $1.8 million round, and will be represented on Poken’s Board of Directors by Dominique Mégret, who heads the investment subsidiary. TechCrunch […]

  • http://www.poken.co.za Tim Lunn

    Of course I agree with Mike (disclosure: I work for Poken Africa); Poken is not a flash in the pan – there is a long (in tech-hype terms), varied, unpredictable, yet undeniable opportunity.

    Of course nobody knows what will happen in this space, but Poken is one of the first and leading players, and it is just too easy, perhaps naive to shoot down pioneers.

    The consumer market is so immense it builds steadily and slowly through familiar early adopters, but the real action right now is in a few B2B areas: where significant expenditure brings valauble people together and fails miserably to exploit the investment;namely Events, Conferences and Promotions.

    In each of these we still have name badges, flat barcodes, business cards, surveys and tick box questionaires- sheez! These fields of human interaction are hugely valuable and current techniques are fundamentally inefficient – so look forward to forward thinking companies at events giving you a Poken.

    If you don’t get one there then watch for smart companies (we are selling to them now) you know, do business with or work for giving you a Poken. They realise they are spending a sizeable sum on taking digital contact info they own and control, printing it on paper they do not control or track (i.e. business cards), and often losing the valuable (CRM) interaction.

    While all that is happening over the next months, maybe you’ll just decide to get yourself a Poken – up to you. After that? Let’s see.

    Sure I drank the Poken kool-aid, and sure it won’t just be Poken (I really like Bump btw), and there are already half a dozen other ‘competitors’. Simply though Poken makes sense where people meet and connect.

    To their credit, inside two years Poken has built a profitable and sustainable business in B2C & B2B markets from scratch with an expanding worldwide channel; not bad at all.

    Smart move by Swisscom, an early place in an inevitable sphere of change; that’s where you make sound investments.

  • http://www.bizzmoz.com Mike Harrop

    Yes, Poken-to-Poken is like a digital-physical kiss. You never forget your first kiss with someone, do you ?
    After that, you totally control how much spit you want to exchange.

    Btw western Switzerland is turning into a major flashmob laboratory for events that could be “Poken”-ized. In May there’ll be more than one event per day. Just one example is http://www.facebook.com/pages/This-week-will-change-your-life/115615898472428

    Anyone else got a mob event to show ?

    Disclosure: I’ve had a Poken for years which I got at a Geneva Open Coffee startup meetup and never used. Now, after rummaging around in my den, I found it again so watch out, people in the street, you’re about to be “Poken”-ized. How does it, er, work ?
    There, I’ve photographed it and put it on my site at http://www.mcbuzz.biz – first time it’s been worn on a kilt – McPoken ?

  • http://www.startupblock.com/?p=89 Latest News: Swisscom Ventures investing in Poken : startupblock.com

    […] Our latest press release has gone out this morning and is already creating a huge amount of buzz, especially on Twitter! This mostly thanks to TechCrunch Europe and US, who has picked it up right away (link to the article to be found here). […]

blog comments powered by Disqus