Hachi Adds Twitter Integration to its Intelligent Social Referral Platform, Launches Private Beta [Invites]

By Michael Carney , written on May 16, 2012

From The News Desk

Hachi (ha-chee) is a business built on the principle that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know...and who your contacts know.

When I first heard about the intelligent social referral platform, I called it “One Social Contacts Portal to Rule them All.” This was a fair description, but it only encompases a fraction of the value proposition.

Yes it helps you organize the people you know across all of your social networks. More importantly, it helps you discover the most efficient path to those who you want to know. Upon logging in, I was told that I have a true reach of 25,144,840 people.

On LinkedIn, users are limited to contacting those who are one degree of separation away (in-network only) by asking for referrals from others in their contacts list. On Hachi, it’s possible to hopscotch across social networks and to go well beyond one degree. For example, it’s possible to contact John, whose wife your LinkedIn contact Jane went to school with and is friends with on Facebook.

Or at least that’s the long term plan. Hachi is launching into public beta today (invites below) and at this point only offers the ability to map and rate the most promising of these paths to new connections. The ability to facilitate introductions within the platform is coming soon.

With today’s roll out, the company is also adding the ability to integrate Twitter networks, in addition to LinkedIn and Facebook which have been live for alpha testers for a number of months.

Hachi founder Rachna Singh says, “The shortest path isn’t always the best. Often, the strongest path is the one through people who interact with one another regularly and on a deep level.” Hachi determines the “Path Score” or the strength of relationships based on the number of networks contacts share, the frequency and speed of their interactions, shared educational or work history, and other factors.

It turns out that my best path to contacting Barack Obama is directly through my LinkedIn contact Paul in Orange County. This path is rated a 4.5 out of 10 based on Paul's strength of connection with POTUS. This is a much shorter path than most of the unreachables I searched. Now that I know, Paul should expect to hear from me.

In response to strong demand from alpha users, the company released a mobile version of its website today and plans to introduce an iOS app later this summer. Its product roadmap also calls for it to incorporate Google and Outlook address book integration in future releases.

What I like most about Hachi is that it doesn’t try to replace my existing social networks. It enhances the existing networks I’ve built across multiple platforms by connecting them and allowing me to navigate them to extract real value. Play with the service enough and you'll get an unbelievably clear idea who the real connectors in your life are. They'll be the people all of your paths run through.

Other alpha testers seem to be quite impressed with the product thus far as well. In a guest post on its blog, Hachi quotes early user and Fetchnotes CEO Alex Schiff as saying:

“Very rarely does a startup come along that I fall so madly in love with that it becomes a need-to-have staple in my life. Spotify did it for music, Mint did it for my personal finances, but Hachi has now done the same for the way I conduct business...This has been an absolute god-send for fundraising since investors will typically only talk to you if you can find a warm introduction...Hachi is the roadmap to your social graph.”

Schiff’s comment does illustrates one potentially challenging scenario. Powerful and influential people in this world have no problem connecting with anyone they want. Accordingly, the request for referrals typically happen in an upward direction on the social ladder. Unfortunately, the higher one climbs the ladder, the less likely the recipient is to be open to receiving unqualified introductions. But, this is not a problem unique to Hachi. LinkedIn and old school in-person introduction requests encounter the same issue.

Currently, Hachi is free to use. The company says that there will always be a free version, although a freemium or enterprise model is likely down the road (there was one enterprise customer among the alpha users). Also, it is already fielding frequent requests for an API and is considering ways to develop additional offerings in the future.

Hachi has been entirely bootstrapped to date by its founder.  Singh, who describes herself as lightly-technical, built much of the initial product herself with the assistance of only a few interns and outside advisors. With proof of concept via her alpha test, she has grown her full time team to five and says that she’s now fielding inbound investment offers for seed financing.

Singh is overflowing with passion for the project. She says, “Hachi is actually solving a meaningful and real problem. If we crack it (which I won't stop till I do), we think we can have a huge impact on the way people connect with each other.”

There are 500 spots in Hachi’s private beta available to PandoDaily readers who email “Pando” to hello [at] gohachi [dot] com.