The above promotional line isn’t just clever -- it’s what makes it possible for Notarize, a startup that lets you confirm documents on your iPhone, to exist. Thanks to a law enacted in Virginia in 2012, notaries in the state can verify documents via live video for individuals in any state. The smartphone app launched today in iTunes.
Getting a document notarized is a way of verifying its legitimacy. A notary public is an individual who has been appointed by state government to witness a contract being signed in order to reduce fraud. Documents that frequently need to be notarized include contracts, power of attorney designations, various licenses and deed documents.
Unfortunately, finding a notary public to verify a signature can be frustrating, particularly when you need to do so in a rush and it’s after business hours.
Notarizing legal documents may not be the kind of sexy industry that gets a lot of attention, but it’s the perfect target for a tech-inspired makeover. There are approximately 1 billion documents notarized each year in the U.S. and the process, until now, has been stuck in the predigital age.
“We are bringing this business into the 21st century and solving a real need,” Pat Kinsel, the founder and CEO of Notarize, said in a statement.
To use the app, customers first scan their government-issued photo ID, which is authenticated using computer imaging technology and a software-based forensic analysis. Next, they are connected with a notary public officer through a live video chat. The notary public digitally signs and stamps the document in question. Each notarization costs $25, and users can connect with notaries public through the app 24 hours a day.
Notarize has raised $2.4 million in a seed round led by Polaris Partners, a venture capital firm. Prior to launching Notarize, Kinsel founded Spindle, a location-based search engine that sifts through social media posts near the user. Spindle was acquired by Twitter in 2013.
For more on how the software works, watch the video below. It’s pretty clever and may even make you smile, which, let’s be honest, is impressive for a video about notarizing documents.