Vouched investor Darrell Cavens (left) and Vouched CEO John Baird. (Verified photo)
Vouched, a Seattle-based startup helping companies verify identity, has raised $ 4.5 million from investors including Darrell Cavens and Mark Vadon, co-founders of e-commerce giant Zulily.
It’s a vote of confidence in the three-year-old company that emerged from Madrona Venture Labs, the Seattle-based accelerator for the Madrona Venture Group.
Cavens was CEO of Zulily, which was sold to QVC parent Liberty Interactive in 2015 for $ 2.4 billion. Previously, he invested in Vouched and headed the most recent round.
“The world is getting more digital every day, and security is an issue that every business and consumer is focused on,” Cavens told GeekWire. “Solutions that go beyond simple verifications and passwords are the future – and Vouched can play a key role in this.”
Vouched uses artificial intelligence to help 150+ companies from a wide variety of industries verify the identity of their customers, clients, and contractors. Its software analyzes images of photo IDs, including passports and driver’s licenses. The technology compares a user’s selfie to confirm identity. It also examines text such as addresses.
The idea is to provide real-time fraud detection to a person. Use cases include KYC (Know Your Customer) in banking; Employment screening; Gig economy setting; contactless hotel check-in; and more. Vouched aims to do for ID verification what services like Stripe did for online payments.
There are a variety of competitors who are also developing related ID verification technologies, including Vancouver-based Trulioo, which raised $ 394 million in June, Seattle-based AuthenticID, which raised $ 100 million last month, and OCR Labs, which just raised $ 15 million. These companies are seeing increased demand amid the pandemic as companies move their processes online.
Vouched differs in its patent-pending computer vision software, which examines various risk factors. “Vouched is a fully self-service and developer priority,” added CEO John Baird, a former executive director at Blue Nile and WE Communications. He co-founded the company with John Cao, who was chief technology officer but announced his resignation earlier this month.
Other supporters include Bankers Healthcare Group, Professional Bank, Flying Fish Partners, Ascend.vc and angel investors such as Jove CEO Dave Atchison, Mike Potter, Callisto Media VP Brian Watkins, Revolve CFO Jesse Timmermans and Vijay Talwar, CEO of EMEA at Foot Locker . Total funding for the 20-person company is $ 12 million.
“Darrell and Mark are legendary disruptors and builders in the industry,” Baird said in a press release. “Our strategic banking and legal partners will also be key partners in our effort to accelerate Vouched’s global identity platform: banking because it powers all business and relies on identity for every transaction, and legal because it is identity Are defined.”
Vadon was previously the chairman of Zulily and online pet dealer Chewy. In 1999 he founded the online jewelry company Blue Nile; Cavens joined shortly after and was CTO.
Cavens and Vadon both recently invested another Seattle startup, Rad Power Bikes, in March.