A virtual dimension in your business card
e-Toile: Eric Mouyal, you have just set up your company in Miami, where you offer, a very innovative service of virtual / regular business cards. Could you detail the concept?
Eric Mouyal: As a matter of fact, I co-founded Buzcard and invented the updatable business card. My company received the prize of the Start-up of the Year (2011) from French Network BFM.
From a comprehensive observation of the professional printing activity, we came to the conclusion that traditional paper business cards will still be in use for a long time since it is part of a ritual when professionals meet.
Nevertheless, a regular business card is a limited support size wise and, more importantly, after a career or personal move when you have to update the information. Our idea, therefore, was to turn it into a permanent numerical tool for everyone in the professional and personal environment.
After 2 years of conception, development, testing, Buzcard company came up with “Buzcard forever”, a regular business card coupled to an online version, which is a mobile personalized and updatable webpage. The link between the two is materialized by a Quick Response Code (QR Code).
- e-Toile: Any other use attached to this concept?
Eric Mouyal: Our concept is that Buzcard forever has two uses: the paper card materializes the encounter, the virtual version provides updated information when needed later in the relation.
For the same price as a regular paper card, you can upgrade to updatable cards, and, thanks to the QR Code, you can:
make sure that your partners have updated information on you professional profile;
quickly and easily save the contact
receive an alert when a contact is updated.
- e-Toile: This product can be easily popular anywhere. Why did you make the choice of Miami then?
Eric Mouyal: The choice was natural for us, even though Miami is probably not the best place for start-up companies.
The first motive was professional: our first partner is based in Daytona Beach. Therefore we chose proximity with a direct flight to Paris. Most of the business cards we make are printed in Miami, as well.
The second ingredient was more personal: we have family connection here, as well as in the French community at large.
Miami has become a dream city, offering an excellent quality of life with a Latin flavour and a perfect environment for kids.
Finally, Miami is a hub for Latin America, a prospective market for our company.
- e-Toile: Savoir-faire is one of the main assets both from an entrepreneurial and economic perspective. How would you evaluate the French savoir-faire in your field of operation?
Eric Mouyal: Like for most innovations, we are at the crossing of different fields. For Buzcard, we are mixing computer science, web, printing and mobile services.
Mobile services and the economics of QR Codes have been revolutionized by the introduction of Apple’s iPhone and Androïd.
French telecom operators were ahead of the curve, like for the Minitel 30 years back, with their own device, “Flash code”, an early version of a 2 dimensions barcode. Unfortunately, The Japanese QR code took over the global market when the patent was made freely available to the community.
For Buzcard, this allowed us to go from a franco-french model to an international one, which means ready to be exported.
Please note that we have in France a champion of 2 dimensions barcode, who has AT&T among its clients.
This company has managed to impose its barcode scanner as a pre-installed feature on most of the smart phones around the world.
In the same general idea, I should say that one of the partners of Buzcard company has revolutionized the printing business in France through an automatized system of online ordering which provides exact information on cost and shipping for the customer. His company enjoys an amazing expansion of its business in France thanks to this innovation.
Finally, allow me to say that if the founder of VistaPrint is American, he has developed his concept after being graduated from INSEAD (a French Business School), with French investors and with the company’s headquarter located in Paris.
Our ambition is to turn Buzcard into the “VistaPrint” of updatable business cards.