Imagine you’re at a trade show, about to meet a potential customer. You could jump between LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get yourself up to date on your prospect’s life, or you could enter the person’s name into the free Refresh mobile app and view his or her latest LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Foursquare updates, and even relevant e-mails from your inbox. The result is a timely, top-level dossier put together in seconds that can help you get a sense of the person’s interests, perspectives and passions.
“I use it to break the ice with potential new hires,” says Brandon Leonardo, co-founder of Instacart, a San Francisco-based online grocery-delivery service with 80 employees.
Refresh is the result of an epiphany Bhavin Shah had 10 years ago, when he was director of new business for LeapFrog Enterprises. He spent hours prepping for a critical meeting, only to see that what mattered most was the personal connection and understanding between the two sides. “One 90-second side conversation was all it took to change the tone of that meeting,” he says.
Shah decided he wanted a tool that could arm him with personal insights on potential clients and customers. By 2012 he’d quit his day job to launch Refresh from Mountain View, Calif. With help from $10 million in Series A funding in 2013, he released his mobile app on iOS and the web, and his team of 17 is working on an Android version.
Business owners couldn’t be happier with the result. Ryan Hoover, founder of San Francisco-based Product Hunt, describes the power of Refresh succinctly. “It tells you who someone is and something interesting about them,” he says. “It puts that one little personal fact in the back of your mind that you can use when you need to. It’s kind of like a superpower.”