The listserv is pretty much one of the most useful inventions of the technology era. For one, you can send an email message to a whole group without manually inputting every address. And listservs make team conversations speedier and more efficient, optimize your online communication so you know it’s getting to the right people, and streamline your digital Rolodex.

New startup Simplist has now taken listservs to the next level, applying the concept to your networking efforts.

Basically, Simplist scans your network of contacts (and your contacts’ contacts) to draw up email lists tailored to the communication you’d like to send out. It’s basically a tool to DIY your own listservs, segmenting who you know into useful categories. You could use it when you want to, say, let a specific group of your media connections know about a product you’re launching, or give a subset of people based in New York a heads up that you’re moving there and looking for opportunities.

Sign up for Simplist for free using LinkedIn, and if you’d like, grant it access to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google address book to gain access to more contacts. You can even invite colleagues to join your team on Simplist, letting you tap into each other’s contacts and expand your reach. To start creating lists, type any keyword into Simplist—“venture capital,” “CMO,” “food and drink,” literally anything—and it will generate a custom contact list complete with names, jobs, direct links to where you’re connected with them in your networks (e.g., someone’s LinkedIn profile), and email address. From there, plug and play: Transfer the contacts over to a new email, compose, and send.

Of course, most major email providers let you create your own mailing lists. But Simplist lets you find the contacts that your message most applies to, without manually having to sift through everyone you know to figure out specific details about each person. Plus, as you add new contacts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, Simplist automatically incorporates that data into any network keyword searches you do, so you’re always reaching out to the most relevant, up-to-date connections.

All of this makes sure your messages get in the hands of the right people; the people who will find them useful or actually be able to help you, rather than feel like they were simply one recipient of a mass email campaign. It makes cold communication a little warmer, increasing the chances of freelancers landing work, recruiters finding new hires, PR teams securing coverage, founders identifying investors, and more. Put simply, Simplist unlocks the potential of your digital contact database to turn contacts into contracts.


Photo of connections courtesy of Shutterstock.