Network Hippo cutting business features to focus on personal contact management

In a decision not taken lightly, Ottawa-based contact management start-up Network Hippo will be shuttering the web app’s business features to focus on individual relationship management.

Launching next week will be a “slimmed-down, personal version of Network Hippo,” that looks to “revolutionize how people manage, communicate with and develop their professional relationships,” wrote CEO Scott Annan in an e-mail to users.

Business-specific features like deal tracking, activities, forms and documents, as well as support for multiple users will be eliminated in this overhaul.

According to the e-mail, the decision was made after some soul-searching and the realization that the small start-up had too broad of a focus and should instead “be really good at one thing.

“For us, the core problem has always been about developing richer professional relationships, and that starts with individuals,” wrote Annan.

Network Hippo launched in private beta a little more than a year ago as an improvement to customer relationship management applications. It has undergone a few changes, as new apps will, and gained several thousand users in that time.

Business users will have until Sept. 21st to export their data from the features that are being removed, though Network Hippo can be contacted for an extension if this is not enough time.

“We also appreciate the trust and support you’ve given us over the last year, and we never intended or expected to let you down.  This decision was not made lightly but was necessary for us to continue.  We hope that you give us another chance and try using Network Hippo for your personal professional networking.   We think you’ll find that this is where the true value lies and will help you develop much richer professional relationships,” wrote Annan.