During the Major League Baseball playoffs in October, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted out a photo of an autograph sent to him by pitcher Jason Motte of the St. Louis Cardinals, Dorsey’s longtime favorite team.
But the signature wasn’t the typical John Hancock scrawled on the back of some napkin or piece of memorabilia. It was an “Egraph,” a personalized electronic autograph powered by a startup called Egraphs that uses digital technology to connect sports stars and fans in a completely new way.
Launched in July, the Seattle-based Egraphs’ business model is simple, but pretty clever. Fans can peruse the company website to see if their favorite athlete has partnered up with Egraphs. Each player’s section has a number of professionally shot action photographs included, typically priced between $25 and $50. The fan pays and sends the athlete a message through the website, including some personal details or memories.
The athlete then receives that message on his custom iPad app, using the the information provided to write a personalized note and electronic autograph on the selected photo. The photo is then sent electronically to the fan, who can save it digitally, share it on social media or order a physical print. Revenue is split between company and athlete.
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