Author: Jessica Galang
Certn raises $975,000 to use AI for background checks
Victoria-based Certn, a background screening platform that uses AI to predict applicant behaviors, has raised a $975,000 seed round.
Investors in the round include Atrium Ventures, Panache Ventures, Hello Ventures, and iNovia Capital. Certn’s platform is targeted to property managers and financial institutions, and screens candidates to evaluate risk. The company said that property managers and lenders normally have to rely on credit scores to make an evaluation, which means missing out on potential clients that are underbanked and have low credit history.
“Our team has assembled the largest proprietary database of up-to-date, risk-scored information in the industry,” said Andrew McLeod, co-founder of Certn. “Our platform integrates into existing application processes or can be used as a stand-alone process, automating and streamlining the decision-making process, saving customers time and money. This latest round of funding will help us enhance our platform and provide the best value for our customers.”
Certn’s platform leverages credit reports, criminal and court cases, negative news on social media, and employment history to evaluate candidates’ credibility and character and predict future behaviour. The conversation about how to prevent human biases from being built into AI is an ongoing one, and BetaKit asked McLeod how the company addresses that issue.
“We never collect or analyze data that could violate an applicant’s human rights (race, religion, sexual preference, family status, et cetera),” said McLeod. “It’s also worth noting that we don’t look at photos or video, just text, with strict guidelines on what we can and cannot use. It’s not good for our business or our clients to discriminate. We want to make sure we choose the best applicants, regardless of how they look, or what they believe.”
In September 2017, Certn won $10,000 at the BCIC-New Ventures competition in the top regional startup category.
“The team at Certn are some of the hungriest entrepreneurs that I have ever met,” said Scott Lake, general partner at Hello Ventures and a co-founder of Shopify. “They hunt down every opportunity to find new ways of having more impact in more markets with their core technology, and that’s why they are poised for success.”