Ntag, a Boston company that makes interactive name badges for people to wear at conferences and other events so that they can interact socially with people with similar interests, has raised $8.3 million in a second round of funding.
A helpful demo on the company’s home page shows how it works (see “networking” chapter for basics). A conference attendee signs up online before an event, enters his occupation, experience and other interests. Ntag then provides him with a badge carrying this info, which interacts wirelessly with an Ntag server during the conference. The badge vibrates when the attendee comes into proximity of another attendee with similar interests (the attendee selects the sort of people he wants to meet beforehand). The attendee can also type info into the badge on a small keyboard — about a conversation with a cute sales representative he just met, for example — which is then recorded by Ntag’s servers, so that all the information is available online even after the attendee leaves the conference.
The company says it has conducted events for companies like IBM, Freescale, Pfizer, Alcatel-Lucent and General Electric.
A number of companies have rushed into this area, including Charmed Technology, of Los Angeles, Shockfish (maker of SpotMe), of Switzerland, and SmartBadge, of Laguna Hills, Calif.
Ntag is well-backed. It has raised a total of $23 million. Previous investors Sevin Rosen Funds and Pilot House Ventures provided the latest funding.
The company says the conference business is a $168 billion market.