Get prepared and make a killer impression with Charlie

by Lei Xuan

Two years ago, when Aaron Frazin, then-Indiana University Bloomington MBA graduate, was looking for a job, he spent a lot of time doing research before interviews to try to make a big impression. After spending hours researching companies, Frazin wondered if there was a service that could do it for him.

There wasn’t. So he turned down a job offer and created Charlie, a web-based service, with his partner, Rob Volk, the company’s chief technology executive.

The Chicago-based startup has six employees now. Frazin, the CEO, is planning to hire two more engineers in the next few months.

Charlie is like a personal assistant. It connects with users’ social network accounts, like Facebook and LinkedIn, and creates a one-page profile. After scheduling your meetings on Google Calendar, Charlie will send you an email one hour before meetings with short biographies of people who you are going to meet with.

“Anyone who has big meetings is a user of Charlie,” says Frazin. According to him, Charlie has “a few thousands” users now, ranging from executives to sales people. Notable users include Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite Media Inc.

The company’s growth relies on viral techniques. For example, when someone goes to an important meeting, the person is expected to share Charlie to colleagues to help them prepare for the meeting.

Charlie is free now, but will make money by asking users to upgrade to a premium account that will give them additional resources.

The company has raised $1.75 million through Chicago venture capital firms, including Lightbank and Hyde Park Venture Partners.