The world is getting smaller every day as social media enables networking in the blink of an eye. Amidst all the high-speed connecting, we often forget older connections, leaving them to chance encounters. And yet, the most unlikely success stories have begun with something as simple as a ‘hello’, and a random encounter that can change the course of your career.
This is exactly why Japan’s leading provider of cloud-based business card management service, Sansan Inc., launched the ‘Eight’ app in India, on Wednesday. The app is a networking platform that combines business card scanning features with social media functionality to connect users.
Speaking at the event, Chika Terada, CEO at Sansan Inc. said, “For Asian professionals, the business card is a vital tool for networking and progression. More than 10 billion business cards are exchanged every year, and with Eight, we plan to not only streamline this process, but also add more value to it, so that every connection counts for an individual.
India is the place to be
India’s millennial population (18-35 years of age) is currently bigger than that of China or the US, and will most likely boost the nation’s labour force to the world’s largest by 2027, according to a Bloomberg New analysis of the United Nations population-projection data. Sansan Inc. aims to leverage this and fulfill its vision of transforming user connections in India.
“India represents a huge market for us due to its large English-speaking working population. Our focus is on reaching our ultimate goal of creating a future with “no paper” business cards,” Terada explained. In Japan, Eight already has 2 million users, 5,000 daily downloads and it also digitizes around 300,000 business cards every day.
The power of connection
Making connections is very crucial for professionals; but more importantly, they have to maintain those connections. And though physical business cards exist, they are often left in some stack in the corner. The Eight app solves this problem by digitising and providing a secure way to organise business cards and cultivate every connection.
Eight uses AI-driven technologies to convert analog business card information to digital, thereby ensuring that business connections are available at your fingertips.
Currently, Eight users can do the following:
- Use their smartphone camera to digitise business cards
- Connect with contacts over the app itself
- View insights through a real-time news feed
- Utilise complete integration with their phone for email/phone conversations
- Get recommendations for new connections
Edward Senju, Executive Producer at Eight, said, “Since our establishment, we have continuously enhanced our transcription process to reach 99.8 percent accuracy, and transcribe more than 200 million business cards a year in a secure way. By doing so, we have stored an enormous amount of data of business persons connections. Utilising this data with AI technologies will help us provide new opportunities for our users.”
It’s all about building relationships
The evening saw a closed networking affair with the likes of Akshay Chaturvedi, Co-Founder and CEO at Leverage, and Shivam Ahuja, CEO at Delhi Angels, step in to give a few insights on the importance of making connections. Shivam said, “Networking is not about just exchanging business cards; it’s about building human relationships with your contacts. So the Eight app is a great way to connect with people. It’s up to you to convert it into a business.”
Akshay agreed and added, “I think it’s all about valuing the connections that you make.” He also touched upon important points that one needs to keep in mind when they have a mentor. These included, respecting their time, following up, keeping them engaged, stepping out of your comfort zone, and doing what your heart says.
The audience was also treated to an impromptu session about networking with Amit Mishra, Government Startup Advisor and Startup TV Evangelist. He said, “Networking is like storytelling. Your story has to be enticing enough to make the other person want to look you up and connect with you. If it’s boring, people will disconnect immediately.”
We are ‘together-made’
When you read stories of professional heroes, even the ‘self-made’ ones, you’ll come across that one person, who came into their lives and turned it around for the better. This only prove that chance encounters are too valuable to forget.
Celebrating these connections and life-changing moments, Sansan also took its #TogetherMade campaign live, at the event, which took place yesterday in New Delhi. With Gul Panag leading the campaign, #TogetherMade reinstates the need to protect every contact, because anyone could change the course your career.
Gul Panag said, “So much of our success is due to the people who support us in big and small ways throughout our careers. We must value and protect every connection because, as my own story shows, they can shape our success in innumerable and invaluable ways. I am thrilled to introduce Eight to India, a country of professionals characterised by unwavering ambition and untold potential.”
The campaign launched with a film that reveals the untold story of Gul Panag and how a series of connections pushed her onto the path of success and made her into who she is today.