LinkedIn Gives Up The Ghost On CardMunch, Inks Deal With Evernote To Migrate Users


An interesting development today for Evernote to push its stature with premium and business users, as well as some closure on an app that was nearly left for dead: LinkedIn and Evernote are today announcing a “deeper integration,” which will see LinkedIn shut down its CardMunch business scanning app on July 11, 2014; migrate users to Evernote; and then use the new connection to build out the two company’s respective businesses.

“We want to have a great user experience for business cards,” Evernote CEO Phil Libin explained to me in an interview. “We both think it’s a more valuable experience. The whole point of business cards is that they’re a lot more than a contact record. In Evernote they become a bookmark in your life, with context.”

It’s not clear how many active users are getting affected by this change, but Libin tells me that there is a significant volume of activity on CardMunch today: on average there are between 45,000 and 50,000 card scans per day using the app, “so there will be a whole lot of users.”

With the app shutting down, those CardMunch users will be given the option to upload business cards using Evernote’s new iOS apps. In turn, those scans will automatically call up LinkedIn profiles of users to add the now-digitized details to their Evernote contacts list.

The service initially will only be available on iOS, although Evernote tells me Android is coming soon.

While CardMunch had been a free service, on Evernote it will over time become premium. Existing CardMunch members will get free business card scanning on Evernote for two years, while Evernote users who are not on CardMunch can get one year free of business card scanning if they connect their LinkedIn and Evernote accounts. (Business card scanning is otherwise a paid, premium feature on Evernote.)

The backstory: When the business card scanning app CardMunch was acquired by LinkedIn back in 2011 for less than $3 million, we called it a like-minded and forward-thinking move. After all, business cards can be messy, and LinkedIn has long been holding an ambition to be the digital rolodex to the world — the place in the cloud where you keep track of your work contacts and connect with them. And the deal was sweet in that it made what was created as a paid service into something free.

But the service effectively died on the vine, with the original CardMunch app getting updated only once after that acquisition, in 2011, and even proving to be unreliable and broken for many. People complained, and we heard murmurs here and there that it would eventually be discontinued as LinkedIn focused on other ways of helping users manage their contacts.

At the same time, Evernote has been building up its business with an increasing number of premium services to entice users to move over from free to paid tiers. That’s had some, if not resounding success: Libin says that right now, out of Evernote’s 90 million active customers, some 4.5 million are taking paid services.

With LinkedIn now estimating that there are 300 million people in its network, this move is being made to make those paid services a little more useful, while also potentially helping Evernote tap into that larger customer base to bring up its own user numbers. At the same time, as Libin points out there are a number of countries that are targets for LinkedIn’s future growth, such as China, where Evernote will be key to picking up new users.

What’s interesting is that CardMunch was originally a cross between an analogue and digital solution — you scanned your card, but it was then verified by a human before being converted using Mechanical Turk. In fact, the human element of the service was one of the app’s selling points. Evernote, which has its own appreciation for the analogue aspects of life — “I like paper things, and I like making them better and relevant,” Libin told me yesterday — believes that even if that human involvement may have been necessary even two years ago, these days digitizing simply works better.

“OCR is our core competency,” Libin explained to me.

ios-cardscan-review-modeIndeed, the new Evernote app is designed make it as pain-free as possible to digitize those cards: using the app, you point your handset at a business card on a table and shoot: Evernote identifies that it’s a card and automatically begins the process of finding relevant information on LinkedIn. Libin says that this is not an exclusive deal and there could be other data sources added in the future.

It also builds on business card scanning features that are also available in Evernote for Mac and Evernote for Windows Desktop, when using the ScanSnap Evernote Edition Scanner.

The sweetener for users to take up the Evernote service is that it means they will be able to get more bang for their business card buck: while in the past the name simply became another contact in your phone, the Evernote version of the CardMunch experience will then be able to do all of the other things you do on Evernote, add notes, link up the contacts to meeting information and locations, and so on.

Libin describes this as a “good will” service and says that “no money changed hands” as part of the deal — I couldn’t help but ask if LinkedIn was taking an investment as part of this deal, and he said no. But I think that this is the start of a deeper relationship that will also eventually see Evernote looking at how it could use LinkedIn for users to sign into its app, and vice versa.

More TechCrunch

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

12 hours ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

14 hours ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, launched an enterprise version of the prominent social network in 2015. It always seemed like a stretch for a company built on a consumer…

With the end of Workplace, it’s fair to wonder if Meta was ever serious about the enterprise

X, formerly Twitter, turned TweetDeck into X Pro and pushed it behind a paywall. But there is a new column-based social media tool in town, and it’s from Instagram Threads.…

Meta Threads is testing pinned columns on the web, similar to the old TweetDeck

As part of 2024’s Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is showing off some updates to Android that should be useful to folks with mobility or vision impairments. Project Gameface allows gamers…

Google expands hands-free and eyes-free interfaces on Android