At the Launch Festival in San Francisco on Feb. 24, the attendees showing up to learn about startups will have to do something to enter that might seem like the domain of their 17-year-old niece: They will have to take a selfie. To get into the event.

The Launch Festival is, appropriately enough, serving as the launching pad for Selfie Tickets, a new venture from a company called TicketLeap that asks event-goers to verify their purchase with a snap of the front-facing camera.

“The person showing up to the event will just hold up their phone, and in that ticket displayed on their phone is all of the security features they need to prove they bought a ticket. And one of those security features is their face,” Beah Burger-Lenehan, the vice president of product for Selfie Tickets, told the Daily Dot. “It says ‘this is my ticket; I just didn’t hand it to somebody over the fence.’”

Burger-Lenehan believes the Selfie Ticket process is more fun and less alienating to event-goers than simply holding up a barcode.

Here’s how it works: People who want to attend an event that uses Selfie Tickets will download the Selfie Ticket app. From there, they’re prompted to do what pretty much everyone who has an Instagram account and a smartphone is all too familiar with: take a selfie. The app allows users to take and retake their shot until they have the perfect selfie to show at the door.

Selfie Ticket doesn’t use facial recognition. It allows the people at the door to compare the selfie with the face of the person holding the phone.

It’s not a necessary innovation. the only real difference between holding up a mobile ticket and holding up a mobile ticket with a selfie attached is that the person letting people into the event won’t have to scan anything, since they can just do a face-to-face check, which could inspire some people to don disguises to impersonate each other.

But people love taking selfies, so this ticketing option injects a little fun and justifiable narcissism into the process of gaining entrance into an event. So it's an unnecessary innovation that people will probably love. Like pizza bagels. 

It wouldn’t work for massive-scale events like Bonnaroo or NFL games (imagine the lines at those events held up because someone took a blurry selfie), but Burger-Lenehan is excited about the app’s potential to inspire deeper ties at community-driven events.

“What we found is a lot of event creators who are throwing the kind of events that need the most help and are the least well accommodated in existing online solutions," she said. "These are the events I’m talking about, where brands or a person or an organization are trying to build a community and bring people together and have a relationship with these customers.”

And TicketLeap CEO Tim Raybould believes the Launch festival is the perfect place to, well, launch. “The spirit of Launch festival is startups and entrepreneurs coming together and sharing something cool that they’re doing, and getting onstage and launching things, and talking about making the world a better place through software and startup companies.”

Photo by sarah.vanquickelberge/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)