This NYC Startup is Making Digital Business Cards Mainstream



You personally know that you are trustworthy and while you can shout it as loud as you want, no one has to believe you. The only way someone should trust you, is if they can verify you trustworthiness especially when it comes to commerce transactions. How can this be done if you don’t know anything about the other person or party? IQID si the digital business card that assigns you a personal digital identification and allows you to see other people’s trust scores before consummating a transaction.

We spoke with founder Eric Schwertzel about the app and how it plans to take off a new way to think about ID and social verification.

Tell us about the product or service.

Since the beginning of commerce and communication, ”trust” and discovering who is selling and buying, are the ingredients for a successful marketplace. If we can make matching between trusted people much more efficient, we think that meetings and transactions will happen faster and more spontaneously, for the benefit of all local communities.

So we created IQID to bring back local commerce and encourage more community meetings. We tackle the trust problem and person to person interest matching with technology and innovation. What we have done updated the decades old business card, and created a trusted and sharable version called IQID. IQID is an iOS and Android application that makes your profile information easily sharable (no more running out of paper business cards) via a text message plus adds a Trust Score, Payments and #keyword matching between two people. What that means is we have verified the person’s ID, their location, their social networks, put in PayPal and credit card payments, and set up a broadcasting geolocation marketplace based on your #keywords of products you want to buy, sell or talk about.

Ok, so how does this all work?  As an example, you are standing in line to buy an iPhone 7 at the Apple Store. While standing in line, with the IQID application, you set up an IQID broadcast search based on a #keyword of “buying” an #iphone7 with a 1000 foot radius. Now, if anyone else has IQID running and is up to 1000 feet away and is “selling” an #iphone7, IQID will ask if you will want to match with that person. But the big difference, you know they are a real person with a trust score. That person already has their ID verified and you can pay them right there, safely with PayPal, and soon, a credit card.

How is it different?

Look in your wallet. You have business cards, cash, credit cards, a library card and a driver license.  Your credit cards are already digitized. Maybe even your library card.  Our tag line is making strangers, into neighbors, and here is why: we are taking your digital wallet to the next step: digitizing your business cards, driver’s license and payments all in an easy to share profile for the purposes of interacting with new people. Here is mine.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

P2P matchmaking or reseller platforms, including eBay, Airbnb, Uber, Lyft and Craigslist  are generating billions in revenue each year. And the millennial generation is starting to rely on these platforms everyday. P2P transactions are estimated to be a $300-billion-dollar industry by 2025.

What is the business model?

We make money a couple of different ways. The basic consumer IQID application is free. If you want to put in your logo, instead of the IQID logo that is $25 per year. If you want to add in your Credit Score, that is $29. If you want more than five #keyword matching, those are an additional $1 per month. We will be adding in other features in the future, like insurance, escrow and loyalty programs through partners. Plus, we have an enterprise group that does Digital Corporate Business Cards, Employee verification and background checks, Employee ID’s, secure building access and a bunch of other relevant services.

What inspired the business?

I love to go to concerts last minute at Madison Square Garden.  But it was always difficult to separate the fake concert tickets from the real ones. So I would take a picture of the person selling me the ticket while holding their ID. If they refused to do that, I didn’t buy the ticket. One day, at U2 show, a ticket seller asked me to do the same thing.  I then thought this would be an awesome application to send a business card with all of your info validated but no ID numbers reveled. Soon the concept was born and I worked on my spare time to get it up and running.

What will it take to make IQID the standard in verification?

Interesting question. I don’t want to make IQID the standard in verification. I want to make IQID the standard in bringing trusted, “verified” people together by #keyword matching the things you want locally.  If you think how fast digital wallet products have taken to adopt, 30 years for credit cards, 7 years for smart phones and yet, we still have trust and fraud as an issue. I expect by 2020 the verification of trust, in the form of a tokened digital profile to be the norm. I hope it is IQID.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

We just moved into our coworking space, so were are super happy to have moved out of the living room. We are prepping for the Money2020 show in Las Vegas on October 23, which is our public intro. We have been in a beta for about 6 months now, testing out all the features and talking to potential distribution partners. So if you are a payment provider, need to verify people or want a digital business card for all of your employees please contact us. Our goals are to have 10,000 monthly active users after launch. We then want to raise a $100K angel round for the next feature: IQID matchmaking based on an AI anticipating what you want.

What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?

Stop being a nice guy. My former co-founder asked for their money back after they disagreed with the viability of a new feature (#keyword matchmaking). The problem was, we used their money for development, a trade show and it was already spent. But, he is a good friend–I gave back his money and paid the developer out of all my savings (sold my 401K funds), much to my mom’s dismay (sorry mom, I’ll pay you back, I promise). That slowed me down as I was soon scrambling to take on odd jobs and well, pay rent.  But you learn and I count on him today as one of my best friends. Integrity and your word is more important than money. But I do hope one day, I can wave to him from the stage at the first annual IQID community meeting at Madison Square Garden in 2017 with 60,000 other IQIDers.

If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?

I need a strategic partner that has a rabid SMB community and also believes that the next generation of business cards will have digital trust, payments and real matchmaking abilities. Maybe it is Apple, Google, Facebook, AMEX, Allstate, Citigroup or Goldman Sachs or some community group that is concerned about Amazon’s monopoly.  I thought it would be a bank or a payment provider, but so far no luck. But yes, love to meet a Company Innovation Officer that also believes in the strategic vision of a trusted digital business card on your smartphone with payments and matchmaking.

Why did you launch in New York?

I used to work at a financial services company here and was always intrigued by how fast digital payments were progressing with B2C companies, but not between people. And how digital payments, instead, made it easier to do commerce outside your neighborhood. When I saw my small independent pet store close, but lots of Amazon boxes with pet food in the garbage, I knew we had to figure out how to keep commerce local, encourage sharing between people and help everyone to know your neighbor to help support their community.

What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?

Well, I am lucky- I’m a member and love to meet new people at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan and Soho House NYC.  And the reason why they are such pleasant environments to socialize and relax is that you can be yourself, everyone is vetted due to the membership process and it comes back to the “trust” factor. If you can trust the other person, you are much more inclined to have a conversation with a complete stranger.

About the author: AlleyWatch

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