Mobile

LinkedIn wants your business cards, acquires CardMunch

CardMunch, a startup that automatically transcribes business cards, just announced that it has been acquired by professional networking site LinkedIn.

Cofounder and chief executive Bowei Gai demonstrated the iPhone app for me around the time that it launched in August. It was an impressive demo: We lined up a stack of cards on the table, scanned each of them for just a few seconds, then started to receive the transcribed data (with only minor errors) within a minute or so.

Here’s how CardMunch describes the deal.:

Our long-term vision for CardMunch has been to help manage business contacts and help you to leverage your contacts and connections for doing business. With that in mind, we are thrilled to announce today that CardMunch is now a part of LinkedIn! LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and as such, provides the perfect platform for us to execute the CardMunch vision.

So what does LinkedIn plan to do with CardMunch? Well, it doesn’t seem to see the app as an immediate moneymaker. CardMunch previously charged users for the transcriptions, but starting today, the app will be free. (The company says users who still have unused credits will receive more information soon.)

The obvious use is to bring more of this business card data into LinkedIn itself. Certainly, this could help LinkedIn turn into the “professional dashboard” that CEO Jeff Weiner has suggested, not just a site you visit when you’re looking for a job.

There aren’t any details yet about how CardMunch might be integrated into LinkedIn. For now, CardMunch says the app’s data is covered under the LinkedIn privacy policy and terms of service, and it says that at some point in the future CardMunch “may require users to use their LinkedIn accounts to access CardMunch”.

CardMunch was backed by K9 Ventures.

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