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Poken is a new Swiss startup that aims to simplify the way we go from real world interaction to online social networking friends. This week we reviewed DropCard which offers a way to stop collecting business cards and instead send the information through SMS. Poken also is interested with ending business card collection but in a different way.
When you signup for Poken, they send you a keychain fob which contains your social networking information. When you meet someone at a conference, event, mixer, etc and they also have a Poken fob, you tap the fobs together and instantly you are connected on the social networks where there is a match.
Since most people have only one social network they are attached to, is Poken really necessary? Apparently the Poken fob costs about $3 and the team is working on securing advertisers to “own” the Poken fob. For techies the idea seems more interesting and feasible. Also, enough people you meet and in your circle would need a Poken to make the system work. The first person you try to poke (?) and they have no fob, it’s done.
It seems like for this type of application to work, it has to connect to the devices we carry already. Poken has an API and perhaps they should be working to integrate their technology (including the fob) into mobile devices? Maybe it could replace the infared port on many mobiles and actually make it more useful. Overall I like the concept and see it as moving the business card conversation forward.
Paul Stamatiou has a good look at physical social networking. Poken is currently angel-funded and is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Here’s their quick pitch filmed by Corsin Camichel at the TechCrunch Zurich event last night: