Over eating Shake ‘em Buns burgers in Wan Chai, Hong Kong (pretty cool place), I sat down with some friends in the start-up world.

Pain Point Raised

“When I go networking, I collect so many business cards that I don’t know how to manage. I don’t want to sit down and input them all into my email address book and I don’t remember which card belongs to who!” said one dude.

This is definitely a problem I have after going to so many events. I’ve accumulated a stack of business cards, some useful, some not and although I could put them into a nice folder and organize them by company or whatever, I haven’t bothered to. I just recently found a nice box to keep them in. But the problem still remains – disorganized and difficult to remember the face that goes with the card and when you met them.

So ironically or not, I saw a business card of the founder of Poken lying around the office. Intrigued by a name that reminded me of Pokemon, I searched it.

So what is it?

From their website ”Poken is your ‘Social Business Card.’ It’s the easy way to share your contact details and online social networks in the real world.  Just hold two Poken palms together – High 4! – and you’re connected.” Confused?

How does it work?

Basically it’s a cute little USB with a little Poken hand attached to it, that comes in different styles. When you meet someone you pull apart the body and hand and see a flashing light, then in an emotional gesture of friendliness, you touch your Poken’s together. Instantly your social information like Facebook profile and Linkedin etc. are transferred, allowing you to download their contact details into your address books. No more handing out business cards or scribbling down your details on a paper napkin – genius!

Once you set up your online Poken account on the Poken Member Hub, you plug in your usb and sync all your Poken friends to your account. The cool part is that you can see all your contacts on a timeline, showing you who they are and when you met them. This solves the problem of not remembering who, where you met them and when.

Business use cases

Poken partners with events and conferences giving attendees a Poken to network with. Poken says that by carrying around your custom branded Poken, you will spark conversation and it will become a natural ice-breaker. People can choose which social network they want to connect with people, people can update their info any time and export contacts to MS Outlook, Address Book or even SalesForce.

Poken is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland with offices in San Francisco and Romania. It was founded by Stéphane Doutriaux.

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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