Forget pens and paper: Egraph paves way for autographs of the future

No more fighting your way through a throng of sports fans to score an autograph. With just a few clicks online, you can now pay for an e-signed photograph of your favorite athlete complete with a personalized written and voice message.

Seattle-based Egraph could be paving the way for the future of the autograph. Here’s how it works: Fans can purchase a high-resolution photo and attach instructions for a personalized message. The athlete receives a notification via a custom iPad app and signs the picture. Once completed, a link to the digital photo is sent back to the fan via email.

Photos range from $25-to-$100 and Egraph offers a way to print the pictures if you want a physical copy. The company, which was launched in July and has $2 million in funding, splits the revenue with the athlete. Egraphs started with eight MLB players who joined the service in July — they now feature more than 250 — and just announced a partnership with 70 NBA players on Friday.

Worried that about the legitimacy of an autograph? Egraph enrolls each athlete in person to record voiceprints and handwriting samples. Through a biometric authentication process, those samples are used to verify each egraph before it reaches the customer. The company can also ask fans to revise their messages if they find inappropriate instructions, so you can’t force your least-favorite athlete to write an embarrassing message on a photo of himself.

The Egraph team is made up of employees with varied backgrounds. To name a few: a neurobiologist, an applied mathematician, an iPhone software developer with a film background, a consumer marketing specialist, and a recently-retired Major League baseball player.

They have plans to move past the sports realm and bring on actors, actresses and musicians.

While I do think this is a cool idea, my friend brought up a good point: part of the “autograph experience” is the story of how you managed to score the valuable ink. But if you want to bypass that process, Egraphs might be for you.

Previously on GeekWire: Dennis Rodman returns to the court, helps promote Hothead mobile basketball game