Business cards seem almost as outdated as Victorian phone cards, but they’re still a networking staple. Based in Melbourne Blinq wants to remove them completely. The app generates a QR code that displays your business information, including social media links, as soon as someone scans it, even if the app is not installed. The company today announced that it has raised A$5 million (approximately US$3.5 million) from Blackbird and Square Capital.
Blinq profile can also be shared via NFC cards, short links, email signatures and video call backgrounds. Users have the ability to create multiple profiles to control who sees what information, such as their company websites, Calendly, and LinkedIn. It integrates with CRM platforms and directories like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Azure AD.
Founder and CEO Jarrod Webb was an early operator and software engineer at Uber Eats when he started Blinq in 2017 as a hobby. Around that time, Uber Eats had changed its logo several times, Webb told TechCrunch, and its job title also changed twice, so it had stacks of different business cards on its desk. “It made me realize that paper business cards have two big flaws,” he said. “Information is static and you had to transport it.”
Around the same time, iOS 11 was released, giving iPhones the ability to scan QR codes natively through the camera. Over the course of a weekend, Webb built the first version of Blinq, a simple app that allowed users to create a digital business card and add a QR code that they could add to the screen of their iPhone-widget.
While Blinq worked between iPhone users, it wasn’t until late 2019 that most Androids could scan them natively, Webb adds. QR codes gained more adoption during the COVID pandemic, and in January 2021 Webb quit his job to focus on Blinq after several companies contacted him, asking for a way to manage cards for all employees.
“Before QR code reading from native phone cameras, there were many digital business card apps, but none really stood the test of time because they weren’t able to serve great experience the first time two people met, either because they relied on the two people who already had the app installed to be able to receive details or because the transfer time was too long,” said Webb.
Blinq relies on a product-driven growth strategy. Most of its growth comes from users sharing their Blinq Card with people they meet, including at conferences, who then in turn create their own Blinq Cards.
In a prepared statement, Blackbird partner Rick Baker said, “The last time Square Peg and Blackbird co-invested in an early-stage startup, the result was Canva. With many social networks leading to identity fragmentation, Blinq creates a way to help people manage, control and share their identity in one place. We see such an exciting opportunity with what Blinq is building.