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You are at a networking event. You don’t have business cards…haven’t had them for a few jobs now. Or you ran out. Or you forgot them. You meet someone who’d like to connect…neither of you have a pen or paper — but of course you have your phones. The steps to making a connection electronically when speaking to someone in person are daunting — get their phone number, send a text, remember their name, or find them on LinkedIn and send a request to connect.
Regavi changes all that.
You are at a networking event. You meet someone who’d like to connect. You have Regavi installed. You open the application. Your new connection opens the camera on their iPhone and scans the QR code in Regavi on your iPhone, which instantly opens your contact details in their mobile browser.
What is Regavi?
Regavi is a digital QR code business card and smart contacts app co-founded in January 2017 by Michael P. Kramer (CEO) and Jack Crawford (Chief Product Officer). Both are BS/MS graduate students at Washington University receiving support from the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurship.
Their vision is that Regavi enhances its users’ ability to connect with others, as well as grow and maintain relationships. The name is a portmanteau, or a combination of parts of multiple words with different meanings to form one, in this case Regavi= ‘regain visibility.’
Regavi has won a number of awards, including reaching the semifinals in the national Student Startup Madness competition, as well as earning selection by the Skandalaris Center for $10,000 in funding from a Senior VP at Google. They are about to start an early seed round.
The Regavi team is comprised of founders Mike and Jack, COO Hannah Gallagher, cross-platform developer Michael Madden, other software developers, and a number of interns. They’re currently in it for the sweat equity.
When they started the business, Kramer and Crawford were trying to create a better contacts application. The original plan for Regavi was to just provide each user with a username, and make that username searchable in the application.
“We still have that feature,” said Crawford, Chief Product Officer, jumping into the conversation. “But then we added the QR code feature to make it even quicker connection and mirror the handshake of exchanging business cards.”
The QR code revolutionized the Regavi feature set and appeal. The beta for iOS 11 came out in June 2017, several months after the company was founded. The updated operating system for the iPhone offered automatic QR code reading in the camera.
“When we saw the beta for iOS 11 we were like, ‘Wait, wait, hang on!’ We’d been trying to conceptualize how to distribute information in the quickest way possible. This was the way to do it.”
The QR Code
Due to the newness of the QR code feature, the Regavi team see themselves in the role of educators about how it works.
“Short term, while people are still getting acclimated with the idea that you can use the QR code scanner, we’ve included a quick video on the website that shows exactly how you can open your camera and scan it,” explained Kramer. Regavi has also leapt at the opportunity to enhance their branding with QR code reading.
“It’s become part of our branding to be one of the few companies using that functionality,” he continued. “Of course, we would never take credit for Apple developing that functionality. But in the same way that other startups are using facial recognition to do things Apple never thought of, we think of ourselves as one of the first to use their QR code functionality to the fullest of its ability.”
Regardless of the device, a QR code reader can read the code in Regavi automatically whether through the iPhone camera or through a QR code reader application. Naturally, this has allowed Regavi to attain the strategic position of being multi-platform and mobile-first quicker, but the founders are most happy about the fact that users aren’t required to install an app.
“Unlike other previous contact or business card startup apps, both people don’t need to have the app or have to unlock their phones to exchange information,” Kramer said.
“If you have Regavi installed, you swipe over to our one-way digicard and the other person — who doesn’t have Regavi — can swipe to their camera and snap your QR code. This adds the user to the scanner’s contacts.”
Intentionally Minimalist Functionality
Regavi has run time trials on the process, and the results show that using Regavi to share information takes about as much time as it takes to exchange paper business cards. That’s no doubt faster than sending a text, but even at the speed of analogue, Regavi also saves the time needed later to enter the paper business card information into their contacts.
Kramer and Crawford believe Regavi more than competes with the existing social apps available already, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, because of its device agnosticism.
“Regavi is different than all of those platforms because they encourage you to communicate on their platforms. Regavi encourages you to communicate with that person, regardless of platform. Regavi doesn’t have a feed, it doesn’t have any content that you produce to put out and distribute. We believe Regavi is the missing link of the internet connecting you across all of the existing platforms so that you can connect better with that person,” Kramer said.