Want Warm Intros to your Prospects? Read On.

Do you remember in 1999 when everyone was freaked out about the turn of the century? Some folks thought that the Y2K date change would crash computer systems worldwide. Others were all about the whole “end of days” apocalypse thing associated with the year 2000. That feels like a long time ago now, doesn’t it?

How about this tidbit from that era: 2002 to 2012 gave rise to Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+, just to name several of the more popular social platforms (though clearly some are no longer in service).

Of these, the only site focused on one’s professional connections is LinkedIn (launched in 2002) and it is still the most popular online professional networking site with 774 million users and counting.

Given the rate of change that drives technology and the internet, I find it hard to believe that no one has created a better way to connect within one’s professional social network in 20 years. TWENTY YEARS. That’s pre-iPhone, folks. Think about it.

Well, it turns out someone did come up with a better way of connecting to one’s professional network: Connect The Dots (CTD), who just came out of stealth. I was so impressed with the company and its people that I recently led their Series A investment round at Norwest.

I’ll explain what it’s all about by setting up a hypothetical scenario.

Imagine that you have just built the coolest product on the planet and you know exactly who would want to buy it. Unfortunately, that person is the CMO of Acme, Inc. and you don’t know her. What do you do?

If you’re me, you jump onto LinkedIn and see how many mutual connections you have with her. OMG, you have 237 mutual connections. Crap. Who would you ping to see who can introduce you?

No idea. So you start pinging everyone, starting with connection #1 and work your way down the list, sending each of them a private message asking if they know the CMO of Acme.

Two hours later, you’re a quarter way through your list and decide to quit. Hours after that, some of those whom you reached out to reply to let you know they really don’t know her and they’re not sure why they’re even connected on LinkedIn. Bummer.

Meanwhile, your competitor has a better way. He uses CTD to figure out which of the people in his personal network have the strongest relationship with the CMO at Acme. CTD tells him exactly which of his personal contacts knows her best and helps him request a warm intro.

Big surprise, he gets the warm intro and the CMO takes his call, which ultimately allows him to win her business.

Seems like magic, right? Well it’s not magic, but rather the power of AI when applied to your complex web of personal and professional connections. When you connect CTD to your email, it lights up your network in a way we’ve never seen before, letting you know “who knows who” the best and facilitating warm introductions to people you don’t currently know.

To be clear, this is not a LinkedIn killer (CTD is neither a social network nor a CRM) but rather a complementary intelligence platform that will have you wondering how you were able to live without it until now. The way I see it, LinkedIn is like Web 2.0. What you see is kind of what you get: you can post, connect with others, and it is a great place to do a little research on someone. CTD provides you the deeper understanding needed to make an informed decision about who to connect with so you can get that warm intro that is much more valued, as well as glean useful insight into your own activities and immediate network.

Want to know the best thing? CTD is free forever, for everyone. There is also an enterprise version that businesses can license to get more features like SSO, additional security and administration controls, and more. But anyone can immediately get started on the free version, and, because the product and the experience are greatly enhanced when more of your connections are signed up, I encourage everyone to take advantage of those free invites and get yourself and your connections up and running on CTD.

So, whether you’re an early adopter or someone still running Windows ME (which debuted in 2000 hence Millennium Edition), if you use LinkedIn at all to connect with others, I think you’ll find that CTD is a game-changer in your toolbox.

What do you have to lose? Check CTD out for free at www.ctd.ai.

Investment partner @NorwestVP, product exec, entrepreneur, musician