How Baltimore is helping dex build networks, minus the business cards - Baltimore


Sep. 19, 2017 12:47 pm

How Baltimore is helping dex build networks, minus the business cards

The startup's technology allows people to get connected by exchanging info digitally. It's the official app of Baltimore Innovation Week 2017.
dex cofounder Alistair Penny, out networking.

dex cofounder Alistair Penny, out networking.

(Courtesy photo)

When Alistair Penny and Sukrit Sharma have been showing up to Baltimore networking, they bring a button rather than a card.

With dex, the cofounders created an app that helps people get connected, and do away with those piles of business cards.

Users enter relevant data into a profile. Then, they can exchange info by pressing a button on the phone that sends it to another user.

dex is designed to allow for the face-to-face interaction that would come with a business card exchange, but leaves aside the paper. Penny adds that the profile allows for more data than can fit on a card, and can be updated over time, as well. That’s how it goes beyond the business card scan that’s been introduced by other tech companies.

As DC reported in March, the cofounders recognize that they have to go beyond a business card for it to take off, and that’s meant a lot of effort to find out what people who are networking at business events want. While the company started in D.C., they’ve found that Baltimore’s tech community has been a worthwhile place to go about that testing.

“It has become a place where we do really want to focus on,” Penny said in a recent conversation.

They’ve been regularly working at ETC in Highlandtown, and connecting with other companies there. Going where the app is being used has also provided value. We’ve seen them at networking events around the city. One example that we ticked off was an awards ceremony for the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland in March, where they were seeking signups right near registration.

“There’s a lot of theory you can think of and there’s only limited things you can actually do. Sometimes you just have to get your feet in the water and get your toes wet and that’s what the CAMI event allowed us to do,” Sharma said.

The feedback they got led to changes to the look and feel of the app, and the cofounders are also working on integrations with other social networks, as well as Salesforce.


dex will be out in the Baltimore community once again in the coming weeks. It’s the official app of Baltimore Innovation Week 2017, which is being held from Sept. 29-Oct. 7.

Penny said the startup will be seeking companies to sign up for an open beta that’s coming later this year. A big goal is to work directly with more event organizers in the coming months, Penny said.


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