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Sachin Rekhi

A San Francisco upstart by the name of Connected — led by two former Microsoft employees — has raised $500,000 from Trinity Ventures, Ignition Partners, 500 Startups and others. Founded last year by Sachin Rekhi and Ada Chen Rekhi, the company is tackling an area of the contact management market that’s quite similar to Seattle-based Gist.

You may recall that Gist, which helps people manage contacts flowing through email and social networks, was acquired by Research in Motion last February.

“We are certainly a Gist rival in that we aggregate all your contacts across email, social networks, and calendar and give you insight into your aggregate contacts. In fact, many of our users are former Gist users,” Rekhi tells GeekWire. In fact, he tells GeekWire that RIM’s purchase of Gist has created a potential opening to attack the market in new ways.

“In terms of product differences, many folks find Connected a much simpler, cleaner, and less cluttered interface,” he said. “In addition, we are much more focused on your individual relationships with your contacts — as opposed to Gist’s focus on the content your contacts share.”

Rekhi actually worked in Redmond as a program manager on the Visual Studio team for three years, but he left the region after his first startup, Anywhere.FM, attended the Boston summer class of tech incubator Y Combinator.

“After the program, (Y Combinator’s) Paul Graham highly encouraged all teams to move to San Francisco as the entrepreneurial scene was stronger here,” said Rekhi. “He said he could help us most with funding in San Francisco. We decided to follow his advice back in 2007 and have been here since.”

Given that, it is a bit interesting that Rekhi has pulled in cash from a Seattle area investor in Ignition Partners. But, given Connected’s deep integration with Outlook, he wanted the ex-Microsoft execs from Ignition, including Cam Myhrvold, on his team.

“One of our biggest user segments is Outlook users and Ignition Partners deep connection to the Microsoft and Outlook community was one of the main reasons we wanted to have Ignition on board,” said Rekhi.

As we previously noted, Ignition has been making a number of technology investments in the San Francisco Bay Area in recent months, including recent deals with Bromium and ScaleXtreme.

Rekhi, who founded Connected with his wife Ada, previously sold Anywhere.FM to Imeem.

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