Claudia Batten's third big score? Kiwi entrepreneur launches Broadli - an app that makes LinkedIn usable
Super expatriate Claudia Batten has jumped into the apps business with Broadli - an app that helps you make sense of your chaos of LinkedIn contacts and, more importantly, tap advice and expertise you weren't previously aware was available through your network.
It could shape up as Batten's third big score.
In 2003, Wellingtonian Claudia Batten and two Aussie ex-patriates cofounded Massive, a company that delivered ads to online video games. Microsoft bought Massive three years later in a deal worth a reported $US200-400 million.
In late 2009 - by then relocated to Boulder, Colorado - Batten was again among a trio of founders of a hot startup; this time Victor & Spoils, which pioneered the concept of crowdsourcing creative for the advertising industry. Victor & Spoils had 6000 creatives on its books by the time French holding company Havas bought a majority interest in the agency in 2012. The New York Times noted many ad agencies were being sold for 1X revenue and that V&S' revenue was an estimated $US10 million plus - but given V&S was pioneering a whole new model, that formula could easily have gone out the window.
Now, with Alessandra Lariu, Batten has created Broadli. An iPhone version is available now, free (follow the link from Broadli's home page). An Android version is due in the next few weeks).
Broadli integrates with your LinkedIn account and lets you organise your LinkedIn contacts into four categories: Inspired, Dormant, Don't Know, Want To Know.
I just loaded the free Broadli last night. Sorting your contacts is a very user-friendly process. Each person's face appears as a circular tile (which you can tap to turn over for their name and other details if you don't recognise them). Categorising people is a simple matter of finger-flipping their tile to one of four quarters of the screen. The downside: this manual process can take some time; or at least it is for me as I swipe my way through nearly 2000 contacts (yes, I do use LinkedIn for broadcasting story links and soliciting leads and leaks; many contacts leave me scratching my head and get flicked to Don't Know). You don't have to load all contacts before you start using the app.
Once you've sorted all your contacts, you can post a "mission" to the most trusted people on you network, and the app's algorithm helps identify the people most likely to be of help based on who and what they know.
Keep posted; I'll let you know how that works out for me once I have sorted more of my contacts.
What sparked the idea for Broadli?
"It was this sense that we have this incredible connectivity but we didn’t think we were utilising it properly," Batten tells NBR.
"I've always loved LinkedIn but it's hard to use when you need help but you're not too sure where to start. A lot of people say to me 'Well I just email smart people' but that restricts you to only people you know can help."
Read more on Claudia Batten and Broadli in this Friday's print edition of NBR.