Can this Minnesota startup raise 500k in crowd sourced capital?

by Son Huynh

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In the wake of Facebook privacy issues, one Minnesota startup aims to bring meaning to the phrase “control of your information.”

Most people have several email addresses, at least two phone numbers, one current address (along with numerous previous ones) and somewhere between five and twenty online accounts that this information is scattered across. If an address or phone number were to change, the information in those accounts would become stale. Because of this, information handled this way can become unmanageable and people tend to lose control of it.  Gimigo was created to overcome this very problem.

Founded in 2005 by Lukas Dickie, Gimigo’s mission is to ensure that “personal information is accurate, safe, and secure”.  Gimigo’s philosophy stems from the idea that everybody changes their information at one or more point in their lives. With Gimigo, when information changes, those who you communicate and choose to share information with automatically get updated. This can be especially useful for groups and organizations that depend on having updated information from their members.

In addition to it’s application in the class reunion space, Gimigo is also currently working with organizations such as CaringBridge.org, whose service connects millions of people, to help manage their users’ information and mailing campaigns.

While the idea of yet another information sharing site may seem like one more too many, Dickie asserts that this is not another social networking site.  The point of Gimigo is not to build networks — but rather to properly maintain existing ones.  Information flows both ways; users can quickly access any information that has been shared with them.   In the case of an unfortunate accident such as dropping a phone into water (which can happen often when living in a state with over 10,000 lakes), contacts aren’t lost forever. As Dickie says, it can take “years to build a relationship, but only seconds to break one.”

Dickie, whose background is in computer security, constantly keeps up to date with industry standards and compliance to ensure that the information is always securely stored and transmitted.

Gimigo comes in several flavors. The free or standard version allows people to manage their information and share with others through the online web interface. The other versions, such as professional or business, come with the addition of add-ons and come at a price. Aside from groups and organizations, Gimigo can also be very useful for businesses that may need to maintain an ongoing relationship with customers or even businesses that need to keep current information on previous employees. Whatever the situation, there are add-ons that allow Gimigo to enhance a business by integrating in various software such as QuickBooks or Outlook and more. Gimigo also works on most of the major mobile platforms.

Gimigo has been in  development for five years, including launching a beta back in 2008 with over 250,000 users. Presently, the startup is turning to the crowds to raise $500k in increments as low as $10 with twenty-nine listed supporters have backed Gimigo ($76,000) to date.  Last month, Gimigo was selected as a nominee to receive the TiE 20 award for promising startups.

“I realized that going forward with a traditional approach for our second round might be an ineffective route in this climate.  So we set our sights on launching a crowd-funding campaign in September for three reasons: awareness, pre-sales, and to attract investors in harmony with our mission,” says Dickie.

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