Talk about some good timing!
Two New York City technology executives are launching a new startup that wants to be a Snapchat for business.
The startup is called Confide. It’s aim at professional people that want to send messages to each other, but have no desire for those messages to exist in the long run for fear of them coming back to embarrass them.
What kind of messages might embarrass someone?
Well, today’s lead story in the political world involves New Jersey governor, and presidential hopeful Chris Christie. He’s being accused of creating a massive traffic jam in the town of a political foe.
Supposedly Christie’s office authorised shutting down a lane of traffic on the George Washington Bridge just to cause problems in the New Jersey town of Fort Lee.
The charges are based on a trail of emails and text messages from one of his top aides. The messages suggest Christie’s office took delight in messing with the town for no apparent reason other than the fact that the town’s mayor didn’t support him in his bid for re-election.
It’s a strange story, and it makes Christie look petulant and unpresidential.
Now, if Christie’s aide had used Confide, this wouldn’t be happening.
Confide is the work of Jon Brod, a former AOL executive, and Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext, which does real-time listing updates for small businesses.
Bloomberg Businessweek likens Confide to LinkedIn. There is Facebook for your personal stuff, and LinkedIn for your professional stuff. Similarly, Lerman and Brod want Confide to be the professional counterpoint to Snapchat.
The way it works is fairly simple. You sign up, and then you send messages to others. It’s like email with a subject line and a body of text. The text comes in with blocks over it. To read the text you swipe across the blocks and the words are revealed. You can’t take screen shots of the messages.
The messages are never stored on Confide’s servers. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “Confide’s other security advantage, co-founder Lerman says, is end-to-end encryption, which means that the key needed to decrypt a message resides only on the recipient’s mobile device and is never transmitted over the company’s servers.”
Lerman says, “We don’t have the technology to read your messages.”
This actually sounds like a good idea for people in business that don’t want a paper trail. It’s such a good idea, that a lot of startups are forming. We’ve heard of two yet to launched companies doing something similar. And then there’s Tiger Text, the original, which was inspired by Tiger Woods’ infidelity. There’s Wickr, which does the same, and probably many others were forgetting.
The trick for Confide is getting corporations to use the app. Bloomberg Businessweek notes that a lot of companies are urged to keep records not destroy them, so this could bump into some regulatory problems if it gets popular.