ContactMonkey Secures $800K for Address Book Solution

ContactMonkey announced this week that they’ve secured an $800,000 round of seed funding from Plazacorp Ventures and several angel investors. The Toronto-based company helps users control and share their contact information to any device or software address book via a link in a user’s email signature. They’re approaching 10,000 users, with over 200 companies paying for the service.

Founder Scott Pielsticker started the company in 2011 after realizing there wasn’t a simple way to add someone’s contact details to his address book. “As I’m a sales- and marketing-driven person I found myself continuously copying and pasting people’s contact info from their email signatures into my address books so that I had all of their contact details,” he said in an interview. “I was frustrated by all of this copying and pasting and I wondered why there wasn’t a more elegant way to share contact info.”

Rather than copy and paste contact details into a list of contacts, ContactMonkey allows users to share a link to a downloadable contact card. Each user adds their own info to ContactMonkey, and is then given a profile page (see Pielsticker’s page for an example). People can download contact info right from the profile page, which you can link to in your email signature. ContactMonkey supports 19 address books and services across Windows, Mac, mobile, and web email clients like Gmail. It also offers users the ability to embed a widget on their website, and lets users control whether their contact details are public or private.

The service is free for individuals, and $3 per user per month for businesses who use the white labeled option so they can use their own branding. Pielsticker soft-launched ContactMonkey in summer 2011, and quickly realized the white label option was something companies wanted. “Now a user’s link is in the format of our customer’s domain, and when clicked the link takes the user to a site designed like our customers,” he said. “It’s simply Powered by ContactMonkey.” Pielsticker says the “sweet spot” seems to be companies with 25-250 employees, but customers range from one employee to over 2,000.

The price for businesses also includes access to their Microsoft Exchange/Active Directory plugin, and they also offer an API which is being used for a similar purpose for companies using an email system like Lotus Notes. The white label option also offers tracking so users can see who is downloading their contact info, which Pielsticker says is useful for lead generation. Users can also enter their email address to get notified when someone’s contact details change.

There are currently workarounds for users who want to ensure they’re sending their contact details, and adding details into their address books. Email senders can attach their own details to an email in a VCF file, but that puts the onus on the user to export and then attach the file each time they send an email. Recipients can manually put contact info into their address books whenever they receive an email from a new contact, but that’s tedious and relies on the person always remembering to add the info.

There are also existing solutions like CardMunch that are focused on taking offline connections online – their business card-scanning app was acquired by LinkedIn in January 2011. Mobile contact sharing apps like Bump make it easy to share contact info on the go between Smartphones, and Hashable has tried to replace the need for sharing traditional contact details.

This is a one-size-fits-all approach to adding contact details, and it’s platform agnostic, which is an advantage the other solutions don’t have. For companies who already use CRM tools like Salesforce, this could be an easier way to help their sales staff keep track of contact details across their different address books.

 

Erin Bury

Erin Bury

Erin has covered startups and technology for over three years in publications including Sprouter Weekly, The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, Mashable, and VentureBeat. She also writes a regular startup column for the Financial Post, and is a technology expert on CTV News Channel. Before BetaKit Erin worked as Director of Content & Communications at Sprouter from its launch in 2009 until its acquisition by Postmedia Network Inc. She was recently named one of Marketing Magazine's 30 Under 30 in 2012.

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