More fun news from around the world of sports business. As usual, I’m going to share the contents from the official press release and then my own quick thoughts.
Media company “Twignature” Surpasses $3M in Funding, Launches a Cutting Edge e-Signature Service on Twitter
Media and e-Signatures platform Twignature announced a new funding threshold of $3M investment, with 50% coming from Veterans of the Armed Forces and a new, patented e-Signatures service on Twitter called “Twignature.” Parent company lettrs, Inc. also announced that Dr. Harvey W. Schiller, one of the most respected leaders in sports, media and entertainment, and a former Air Force General, has joined the company as Chairman.
“We are very pleased to expand our cyber signatures technology with a scalable e-signatures service for social networks, starting with ‘Twignature,'” said Drew Bartkiewicz, Founder and CEO of lettrs, Inc. and himself a West Point graduate. “Dr. Schiller is a respected media veteran and accelerates our growth in influencer networks looking to diversify their associations with brands.”
The Twignature app is just now available on iTunes and activates an immediate digital marketplace for authenticated, distributed and sponsored signatures across the Twitter network. Twignature’s decentralized service uses smartphone biometrics and blockchain distribution principles to activate a unique number, ledger and seal of authenticity for signed Tweets, including signature location, device, and even whether the original autograph was associated with a major brand.
“I joined the Twignature team because I believe that the field of authenticated mobile signatures, as truly original marks in space and time, will create a whole new class of higher quality social media, communications and content than exists today,” Schiller added. “Twignature can become the Blockchain of digital signatures, for a class of content that makes digital memorabilia real, curated and valued by brands and fans alike.”
Bartkiewicz was named one of Goldman Sachs’ “Top 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs” in 2016, while that same year his property, lettrs, was also cited as a Forbes Top 25 Veteran founded business. His successful patent for a “cyber method” to authenticate mobile signatures, marrying biometrics and media on smartphones, has made him a force in the entrepreneurial arena. He is also expanding the Twignature offering to verify, authenticate and “notarize” e-signatures on social networks and emerging currency networks like Blockchain and Bitcoin.
ESPN personality Karl Ravech summarized the social signatures technology in the light of today’s social media trends, “This is a big advantage for public figures across sectors to authentically sign what they tweet, with the potential to make every Twitter user more original and more emotionally connected to the original intent of their expressions. I am impressed to see a veteran company exhibit such innovation on a major social network like Twitter.”
About Twignature: Similar to Docusign, but for social and personal communications, the patented Twignature service enables verified e-signatures on Twitter, which cross reference to associated media and brand sponsors. The service scales authenticity while marginalizing fake signatures, “troll” accounts, and those manufactured tweets of less social value.
Maybe a day or two before I got this news item, I did see the Twignature app appear on the iTunes App Store landing page, and admit that I was mildly curious, so the timing of this story was fitting. I think I’m going to give it a test run.
As much as someone might want to laugh at or dismiss the idea of a digital/social signature as something with market value (as compared to a physical piece of autographed memorabilia), this is something that matters to a growing part of the population. It fits with the continue trend of assigning value and importance to the digital version of physical items. It only makes sense that companies pursue a way of authenticating this new type of keepsake the same way we make an effort to authenticate physical items.
I also like the use of blockchain principles for decentralizing the how the authentication process takes place. I expect to see more and more industries find ways to take advantage of that trend.
The one negative thing I have to add is around the name. I did think we were past the era of simply sticking a social prefix like “Tw” on a word to create a new term. While the focus is on Twitter now, I imagine the same concept will be expanded to many digital channels, so a non-platform specific name would be a much better fit and would also allow for more creative branding and messaging.