Vouched, a Seattle startup that helps 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 3-year-old company, which grew out of Madrona Venture Labs, the accelerator based at Madrona Venture Group in Seattle.
Cavens was CEO of Zulily, which sold to QVC parent Liberty Interactive for $ 2.4 billion in 2015. He previously invested in Vouched and led the recent round.
“The world is becoming more digital every day, and security is an issue that all businesses and consumers are focused on,” Cavens told GeekWire. “Solutions that expand beyond simple checks and passwords are the future, and Vouched can play a key role in that.”
Vouched uses artificial intelligence to help more than 150 companies in a group of industries verify the identity of their clients, customers and contractors. Its software analyzes images of photo identity documents, including passports and driver’s licenses. The technology compares a user’s selfie to confirm identity. It also examines texts such as directions.
The idea is to provide fraud detection of a person in real time. Use cases include KYC (know your customer) in banking; job evaluation; hiring in gig economy; contactless check-in at the hotel; and more. Vouched aims to do for identity verification what services like Stripe have done for online payments.
There is a flurry of competitors developing related identity verification technology as well, including Eugene, Oregon-based SheerID, which is approaching a $ 1 billion valuation, 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 businesses change their processes online.
Avalado sets itself apart with its patent-pending computer vision software that examines various risk factors. “Vouched is fully self-service and developer first,” added CEO John Baird, a former executive at Blue Nile and WE Communications. He founded the company with John Cao, who was CTO, but announced his departure earlier this month.
Other sponsors include Bankers Healthcare Group, Professional Bank, Flying Fish Partners, Ascend.vc, and angel investors such as Jove CEO Dave Atchison, former Blue Nile and Zulily board member Mike Potter, Callisto Media Vice President, Brian Watkins, Revolve CFO Jesse Timmermans, and Vijay Talwar, EMEA CEO at Foot Locker. Total funding in the 20-person company is $ 12 million.
“Darrell and Mark are legendary disruptors and builders of the industry,” Baird said in a press release. “Our strategic partners in banking and law will also be crucial partners in our effort to accelerate Vouched’s global identity platform – banking, because it drives all economic activity and relies on identity for every transaction, and legal, because it defines the identity”.
Vadon was previously president of Zulily, as well as the online pet retailer Chewy. He founded the Blue Nile online jewelry company in 1999; Cavens joined shortly after and was CTO.
Cavens and Vadon recently invested another Seattle startup, Rad Power Bikes, in March.