The pandemic has propelled the adoption of NFC-powered contactless technologies for retailers and restaurants with everyone focusing on public safety. With the public now familiar with these technologies, new use cases will emerge post-COVID. Popl brings the benefits of NFC technologies to the general public. The product lineup of stickers keychains, and bands all enable the seamless sharing of information. The company focuses on making it easier for people to exchange contact information wirelessly, reducing the need for business cards in a contactless world. The software allows you to include social media profiles, payment info, links, etc., making the use-cases versatile. The devices currently retail starting at $19.99 and can be purchased through the company’s online store or through Target.
LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Jason Alvarez-Cohen and COO and Cofounder Nick Eischens to learn more about the company’s offering, traction, and future plans.
Tell us about the product or service.
Popl is the easiest way to connect with anyone you meet!
Put a Popl on your phone, wrist, or keys and you can instantly share your contact information, social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc.), website links, payment platforms (Venmo, CashApp, PayPal, etc.), music platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, etc.), and more. You choose exactly what you share, and the other person doesn’t need a Popl or an app to receive your info!
Popl is your digital business card!
With Popl, connecting with someone has never been easier. The patent-pending Popl Direct™️ feature allows users to customize what they share and “pop” only specific links with ease, making it perfect for both personal and professional interactions.
Popl has multiple products- the original product (a small round sticker in solid colors and fun designs that easily adheres to the back of a smartphone), keychains, and band, a fresh, watch-like wearable version of the product- that fit seamlessly into your everyday life, ensuring you never miss a connection!
Popl’s unique focus on user experience and the high-value software platform also sets us apart.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
How many business cards do you go through every year? And how many of those lead to a real connection? Business cards get thrown away and so do those opportunities.
Popl is striving to replace business cards with products that create more opportunities, more business, and more sales for its users. The goal is to make a meaningful connection – not hand out a business card.
What is the business model?
Popl sells Popls, Keychains, Bands, and other NFC-powered products online starting at $19.99. You can download the Popl App to activate your products and set which links you share. Popl offers a monthly subscription, Popl Pro, for $4.99/month. With Popl Pro, you get 2 profiles (one personal and one professional), unlimited links, pop analytics, the Pop Map, CRM integrations, and more.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
The world has shifted. We are in an environment the likes of which we have not experienced before. And while there’s a lot of uncertainty and disruption right now, we do know one thing for sure- even with social distancing, people still need social interactions. Life will continue, friends will be made, business will get done, and people will connect.
In the past, connecting with someone meant exchanging business cards or typing information into a phone. With COVID, neither are ideal. What’s excellent about Popl is we’re empowering contactless sharing. Popl requires no touching or typing to exchange information—which helps minimize physical contact when meeting in person. We’re calling this market “Instant Contact Sharing,” but due to COVID, we’ve adjusted the name to “Instant Contact(less) Sharing.
Due to this, Popl has really taken off during the pandemic.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
We best friends from UCLA who love meeting people, making friends, and growing our network, and we both shared the frequent & frustrating problem of missed connections. After discovering NFC in 2019, we saw an opportunity and went for it.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
Starting Popl in Los Angeles has been amazing. There are limitless opportunities for business here. LA is full of artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and influencers who use Popl and they’re the backbone of our brand. We like to use the term “on brand”, and we truly feel that LA is #onbrand.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our main goal is to grow the Popl Family. We are also aiming to launch in big box retail soon, which will make Popl easily accessible anywhere in the US. And we plan on raising our next round of investment in the Spring. We’ve got some new products coming out this year that we’re super excited about, too!
If you could be put in touch with one person in the LA Tech tech community who would it be and why?
Evan Spiegel. He came up with the idea of Snapchat while he was in college with a friend, similar to us. We have always been very interested in social media platforms- hence how we ended up launching our product on TikTok. And he became the youngest billionaire in the world, so I’m sure he could offer young tech entrepreneurs like ourselves some good advice.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
It means everything for us to be here! Our love for the city started in college and we knew we didn’t want to leave. We wanted to start Popl here because it has so much to offer. Los Angeles, in our eyes, is a flourishing hub of innovative, diverse companies and we are excited to be a part of the booming tech scene.
What else can be done to promote early-stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
Virtual networking events are a great way for startups to plug themselves and other startups! Also, Clubhouse – tons of great conversations are happening on there all the time. We always get a few gems of knowledge every time we’re on the app.
What is your favorite restaurant in LA?