That's a problem. In a legal sense, it's a huge problem. Archive Social had a solution, but it took months to even get in the door.
A few days ago, I wrote about Archive Social founder Anil Chawla's life after graduation from Triangle Startup Factory. We talked about hype, milestones, and most importantly, customers.
Today, I can divulge what I couldn't tell you then, that they've not only landed their largest customer to date, but have taken their first step on proving their product at any level of government.
"Our biggest problem has been that people don't know our solution exists," Anil told me.
This should change that.
The State Archives of North Carolina is today unveiling its first ever interactive, publicly-searchable social media archive, built on Archive Social, at the Best Practices Exchange Conference in Annapolis,.
Kelly Eubank, Head of Electronic Records for the North Carolina State Archives, says that it's the first time they can capture social media, in full context, and make it available in real time.
The archive is already up in beta form here, launching on a pilot program of state agencies that is expected to grow to more than 130. But like I said, the silver bullet here is that the solution works on any level -- state, federal, local -- anywhere a freedom of information act request expects to be fulfilled.
It's all of government. Not a department, not a niche. That's an enormous market.
Archive Social actually started talking up the State Archives back in January, but it took impressing another department that needed backing up and a re-introduction to the Archives to get things underway.
The State Archives jumped aboard in March, and the pilot program has actually been underway since then, steadily growing and exposing the product's inherent search functionality to the public. The archive now contains over 55,000 records and counting.
And that's one of the main advantages of the product -- every record is archived perpetually. No snapshots, nothing missed.
The other is that the data is captured in its native and legally sound format, with all the records and meta-data intact. Those records are presented back to the user as they were intended, using a proprietary user interface for viewing that retains a familiar format. You access the posts, comments, tweets, and photos the way you would on Facebook or Twitter.
North Carolina was already ahead of most in terms of digital archiving, and they were only previously archiving web pages, so there's a long tail of customers who need what Archive Social is providing, a fact not lost on Anil.
"It's an indication that our technology is breaking new ground. And by working with someone who's a thought leader in the space, it brings awareness to what we're doing," he says.
For an early-stage startup, awareness is great. When that awareness leads to customer acquisition, that's the definition of early-stage success.