It's a familiar problem for anyone who's ever been to a professional conference or business networking event. You spend hours pressing the flesh, making valuable new contacts and, inevitably, you exchange business cards. You arrive home with tens, maybe hundreds, of pocket-sized pieces of cardboard, and what do you do with them?
Most probably, you stick them in a drawer, where you're unlikely ever to find a particular card you may be searching for in the future.
ScanBizCards offers a better alternative - and 500,000 downloads already suggests many agree. Before tossing or relegating that card to the desk drawer, fire up the ScanBizCards app on your iPhone, line up the business card and snap a photo. The app's sophisticated OCR (optical character recognition) software converts the business card image into text that can be stored, edited, manipulated or moved at will.
The card details can be automatically deposited in your iPhone's address book or synchronized with a web database. The image of the business card stays with the text.
Patrick Questembert, 46, is the founder and CEO of ScanBizCards. A French immigrant, who moved to Israel with his family when he was nine years old, Questembert earned degrees in engineering from Tel Aviv University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, worked at both Microsoft and Intel in Israel and then moved to New York to get his MBA at Columbia University.
Entering a red-hot market
Questembert founded his first company, DigiCash (no connection to the digital credit card company of the mid-1990s), right out of business school in 2000 with the aim of creating a virtual "loyalty" currency that websites could hand out to customers for discounts on goods and services. Questembert raised $6 million and hired a staff of 16 who worked out of offices in Netanya. The company, unfortunately, failed. "We received only one check, for $750," Questembert says without any apparent bitterness.
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