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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 15, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Paul Allen-backed Gist opens public beta

Gist today is opening up its impressive “relationship management” Web service to the public during a free test period.

The 15-person Seattle startup was spun out of Paul Allen’s personal investment group in May 2008 and began testing its service September 2008. It raised $6.75 million this past May and has more than 10,000 people using the private beta release.

Gist is aimed at business people who can use the service to quickly compile all sorts of information about their contacts, including recent e-mails, blog posts, news and updates to social neworking services like Facebook and Twitter — basically pulling together the gist of their relationship.

In some ways the software works like a super efficient administrative assistant, preparing users for meetings with an extensive, online dossier. Gist plugs into Microsoft’s Outlook, Google’s Gmail and Salesforce.com, bridging them to social networks and other sources of information about contacts.

Founder and Chief Executive T.A. McCann, who worked on Microsoft’s Exchange team before joining Allen’s Vulcan Capital, said Gist is planning to release a subscription version in early 2010. It will be priced between $19 and $90 per month.

Also in the works are relationships with information providers such as Dow Jones that may provide paid reports, supplementing the information Gist pulls from message systems and public sources.

Comments | More in | Topics: Startups

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