Times are tough for in-person networking in the wake of the covid pandemic, and that’s precisely where Mobilo’s Smart business card comes in with a much-needed solution. Recently launching the Mobilo Metal Card end of September, the durable, stainless steel business card utilizes near-field-communication (NFC) to share contact details without contact. Modeled after premium credit cards, the Mobilo Card is made out of stainless steel and completely customizable to fit any brand’s needs. The new stainless steel cards come in silver, gold, and black, and using laser etching, Mobilo can design each card custom with logos and unique contact details. The card’s “tap and share” feature is powered by NFC and radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips inside of the card that works like magic to share contact details including name, phone, email, address, and social handles without contact. For remote sharing, each card also has a custom QR code that shares the same contact information, perfect for Zoom video calls.
In addition to the fantastic virtual networking features, Mobilo cards offer a lead generation solution that allows users to connect their CRM or email automation tools, integrating 2,000+ apps. After a connection is made with Mobilo’s smart business card, the contact information received is effortlessly synced with your database, allowing users to pursue the lead without losing momentum. The smart business card also provides built-in analytics and real-time data from interactions, allowing for better follow up and more meaningful engagement.
We had a chance to catch up with Mobilo’s founder Pieter Limburg for an interview, to learn more about how they created this new way to network.
MM: Mobilo’s Smart Business Cards draw a clear line in the sand between the age-old practice of handing out hundreds of paper business cards and what the future of business and networking interactions might look like. When and why did the idea to switch to a single plastic or metal contactless card come to you?
Pieter: Did you know that 27 million business cards are printed in the US alone, per day! It will not surprise you that 88% ends up in the trash within a week. This needed to be solved. The last time I came back from a tradeshow (September 2019), I brought back a stack of 90 business cards. And then the fun started. I want them in my CRM. So I tried scanning apps, typing them up, but none of that works. We also had a batch scanning system but it took more than a week to get that data. I had already done research on RFID and NFC for a previous project so all of the sudden it clicked. The Mobilo card will be the last business card you will ever need.
MM: What would you say to career business professionals who are diehard users of traditional business cards to convince them to switch to a Smart Business Card?
Pieter: That’s easy. Business professionals and diehard networkers, don’t want to hand out business cards. They are mostly interested in receiving a business card. That’s how you stay in control of the conversation, that’s when you can reach out and take the lead. For every-day-users, the biggest reason to switch to a digital business card like Mobilo is that we offer an integrated lead-generation function. Switch this on, to have your card collect details from your new contacts and synchronize this automatically with your CRM (Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive, etc), and never is another follow-up.
MM: With healthy traveling on the mind of professionals who routinely travel for work, in what ways do Mobilo’s Smart Cards promote safe interactions while networking with the backdrop of Covid-19.
Pieter: Mobilo is contactless and the only COVID-proof digital business card. You can hold the card close to a phone (no need to touch it) or have people scan the QR Code on the back. Simple, safe, and smart. We also see plenty of people using our smart business cards during a Zoom video call. The last time I had a ‘virtual coffee’ session with a group of realtors, I held up my card and saw the sign-ups coming in at the same time.
MM: Do your smart cards really work as easily as tapping the card onto someone’s phone? Will they need to have an app pre-installed or a setting toggled in their phone to allow for the transfer of contact information?
Pieter: For all Apple iPhones launched in 2018 or newer, the tap function works seamlessly. Older iPhones running iOS 14 can open NFC through their control center (slide down from the top right). Easy enough? For Andriod, it’s hard to say. There are literally more than 1,000 different handsets. But I was really surprised to run into somebody with an Android phone from 2016 and the tap function worked. No app needed, no need to change any settings, just tapped it on the back of the phone. Magic.
MM: Apart from contact information, what other information is easily shareable with just a tap?
Pieter: The card can easily be switched to one of the four main functions. Besides contact information, you can share all of your favorite social channels. The third function is the lead generation mode and lastly, you can set it up to link to any URL. This means you can link to a sign-up form, video, presentation, download link, whatever you can think of. Have you ever tried to ask somebody to go to a certain link, and got stuck after describing “https://”? That’s now a thing of the past.
MM: There are several other companies creating similar business cards with smart functionality. Tell us the features that make Mobilo’s Smart Cards stand apart from the other ones out there.
Pieter: It’s great to see other companies validating that NFC still has a lot of life left. But we don’t look too much at the competition, as I feel we are very much ahead in terms of production quality and software features. We have a clear vision and will keep following the same path as long as our customers keep cheering us on. In the end, we do everything we do, for our customers. We developed all technology with input from and for our customers, and that’s how we hope to stay in the lead.
MM: What has been your biggest triumph in bringing this idea to fruition?
Pieter: It was definitely a long but rewarding path. The moment I figured out it took us less than 3 weeks to see 10,000 card interactions, was definitely worth celebrating. The first 10,000 card interactions took us 6 months, and to see that incredible growth is such a big reward. For me, this meant that not only are we selling our product, but people are actively using it. And loving it.
MM: How many users does Mobilo currently have? Where do you project that will be by the end of next year?
Pieter: We don’t disclose the number of users, but we do have well over 1,500 companies signed up and the monthly active percentage is high. Our hope is that by the end of the year, we can hold steady in customer satisfaction while we optimize our product. Both on the hardware and software side we have a lot of dreams, ideas, and amazing updates in store for Q4.
MM: As the CEO of a technology-based start-up, what has been your overall management philosophy, and how has it shaped the success that Mobilo has seen?
Pieter: That’s a very interesting question. The first thing that comes to mind is respect. It starts with recognizing that whoever you work with, is human, and has specific strengths and capabilities. As a leader, I feel it is my job to assist and support. Help people use their strengths and capabilities to support the goal of the team. Great team dynamics, and evenly important, reaching objectives, provide a sense of accomplishment. To achieve both is my goal and responsibility, so that’s what I try to achieve. I’m not always successful, but my team is understanding and helpful so together we are getting there. So far we have been hitting targets and growing faster than planned, which helps with the team spirit of course.
MM: Where do you want to see Mobilo in 5 years?
Pieter: This is a tough question. I have trouble remembering what the world looked like 5 years ago! We have hopes and dreams, but the future is hard to predict. Hopefully, we have saved many trees, have helped thousands of companies save money on paper business cards, helped team leads gain better insights on how their team uses networking to increase deal-flow and have made the smart business card the first thing people think about when we ask to exchange contact details.