Stripe for ID verification: Investors bet on new Madrona Venture Labs accelerator startup Vouched

Stripe for ID verification: Investors bet on new Madrona Venture Labs accelerator startup Vouched

9:35am, 12th April, 2019
Vouched CEO John Baird. (Vouched Photo) , a Seattle startup using AI to verify people’s identities online, has joined the accelerator. The 3-month accelerator program in a bid by VC firm Madrona Venture Group to lure talent from tech giants. It is focused on established teams and offers startups coaching and connections to investors. Vouched uses AI to review documents in order to help companies verify the identity of its customers, clients and contractors. Those documents could be anything from passports and driver’s licenses to proofs of address and insurance. The idea is to turn a manual process requiring lots of time and staff into an automated one. “We’re working behind the scenes to verify people on sites you might use every day. You might have already used Vouched and don’t even know it,” Vouched CEO said in an email. Vouched has raised $700,000 to date. In addition to a $100,000 investment Madrona Venture Labs, Vouched’s other investors include Zulily co-founder , New Engen CEO , investor , Bulletproof 360 VP , Revolve CFO , and , CEO of EMEA at Footlocker. Baird said Vouched aims to do for ID verification what services like Stripe have done for online payments, with a focus on ease of use, affordability, accuracy and scale. Vouched is incorporated under the name Woolly Labs. Baird founded the company with , who serves as chief product and technology officer. is the startup’s head of AI research. “Increasingly, companies never meet their customers, clients, or even employees,” Baird said. “How do you know, for example, that a gig economy worker has the legally required credentials to work in their industry?” Baird declined to share the names of customers, but said that Vouched works with “companies in sectors such as the gig and sharing economy, telemedicine, transportation, and enterprise software.” This is the second company to join Madrona’s accelerator. The first was , a software startup that helps speed up clinical trials, which graduated in January and was a . The Madrona Venture Labs accelerator is currently . The program is run by managing directors and out of , the “founder center” that opened beneath Madrona Venture Group last year.
Alcatraz AI is building Face ID for corporate badges

Alcatraz AI is building Face ID for corporate badges

10:57am, 2nd April, 2019
Meet a startup that wants to replace all the bade readers in your office with a Face ID-like camera system. Alcatraz has integrated multiple sensors to identify faces and unlock doors effortlessly. If you think about it, it’s weird that fingerprint sensors took off on mobile but everybody is still using plastic badges for their offices. Sure, high security buildings use fingerprint and iris scanners. But it adds too much friction in too many cases. First, when everybody gets back from their lunch break, it can create a traffic jam if everybody needs to place their finger on a sensor. Second, onboarding new employees would require you to add their biometric information to the system. It can be cumbersome for big companies. promises a faster badging experience with facial authentication. When you join a company, you also get a physical badge. The first few times you use the badge, Alcatraz AI scans your face to create a model for future uses — after a while, you can leave your badge at the office. The company has built custom hardware with three different sensors that include both traditional RGB sensors and infrared sensors for 3D mapping. Customers pay Alcatraz AI to install those hybrid badge/face readers. After that, companies pay an annual fee in order to use the platform. Alcatraz AI customers get analytics, real-time notifications and can detect tailgating. This way, if somebody isn’t supposed to go in the secret lab, Alcatraz AI can detect if they’re trying to sneak in by following someone who is authorized to go in there. The idea is that the on-going license cost should cover what your company was paying for guards. The startup has raised nearly $6 million from Hardware Club, Ray Stata, JCI Ventures, Ruvento Ventures and Hemi Ventures.