BizSpark Startup of the Day – Vignature

The BizSpark startup of the day is Vignature, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Matt Spradley, Co-founder and CEO of Vignature. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!


Tell us who you are and your role in the company:

My name is Matt Spradley. I am a cofounder and CEO of Vignature.

What did you do before creating your company?

Prior to starting Vignature, I cofounded Elinc where I developed a veterinary practice management system. Elinc was acquired by Eklin, which was subsequently acquired by a public company in 2009. At the time of the acquisition, Eklin was doing over 35 million in annual revenue. In 2010, I cofounded Impirus Legal Websites where I led the development of a CMS that allows attorneys to easily create a website. Impirus uses Azure for its backend.

How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?

It feels amazing to be selected as the most promising Startup of the Day. We really appreciate the recognition by BizSpark, as it is not always affordable to get publicity as a startup. With this kind of support we can get the word out about our services, and get users quickly.

What is your company’s mission?

Vignature’s mission is to provide a new way to sign that reduces fraud while saving time and money.

In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:

Vignature provides an image based electronic signature service that allows businesses to get verifiable signatures online.

How did you get the idea for your company?

I got the idea for Vignature when I was working on services for attorneys at Impirus. I was thinking of extending our services from website creation to electronic signatures. Then I thought about how notarization could occur online, if the session between two people could be captured on video. Unfortunately, a notary requires the physical presence of a person in the room. I decided to leave remote notarization as a possibility for the future, and to develop an image based electronic signature solution. Since I saw an application for image based signatures beyond the Legal Industry, I decided to start a new company.

Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?

Vignature was selected to be a part of the Tech Wildcatter (seed accelerator) program in February 2011 where we received $25,000 in funding. We are currently seeking to raise $750,000.

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

We have 3 full time employees, 2 of which are developers (including myself).

Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?

We are not hiring at this time. We will start hiring when we raise funding.

Which platform are you building on? Why?

We are building on Azure for several reasons.

1) It allows us to automate our deployments easily. We have a continuous deployment system that allows us to take any code check in to full production in 20 minutes. All of that is automated through the Azure APIs.

2) Table Storage and SQL Azure provide the perfect combination for our needs to store document artifacts with signature data in combination with transactional data associated with user accounts.

3) It will be easy to scale when we need it.

Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?

We see opportunities today in mobile and SaaS. That seems to be where everything is heading.

What do you think about the BizSpark Program?

I think Microsoft BizSpark is a fantastic program. I frequently brag about how Microsoft does a good job of working with developers to help them along. The program is one of the reasons that we ended up using Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Silverlight in our applications.

Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?

My advice to young software entrepreneurs is to get a product or service out quickly, and then modify it based on customer feedback. It is also a good idea to meet with prospects to verify that they really have a problem, prior to developing software that addresses the problem. Also, keep the scope of the problem as small as possible.

Who’s your role model?

There are too many to list. I am a big fan of Gates and Wozniak. Scott Guthrie is coming on strong right now.

What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?

If you think you want to be an entrepreneur, there is no excuse to wait. Take the plunge now. From a technology perspective, it is much cheaper to get started now, than it was 10 years ago. You can go open source or leverage a program like BizSpark to minimize your startup costs. It won’t get easier as you get older. You just continue to add on responsibilities as you go through life.

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