• Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Investors include include Atrium Ventures, Panache Ventures, Hello Ventures, and iNovia Capital see more

    Source: Betakit
    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.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
  • Article
    A local tech startup thinks it has a solution when it comes to helping landlords choose their tenan see more

    With no shortage of prospective renters in Greater Victoria, a local tech startup thinks it has a solution when it comes to helping landlords choose their tenants.

    Its creators say CLAIRE, an artificial intelligence program, can mine data through more than 100,000 public websites to compile a report for a landlord about a prospective tenant's level of risk, but only if that person gives permission.

    "CLAIRE is really designed to look at millions of data points at the same time to draw inferences about applicants," said Andrew McLeod, co-founder of Certn, the company that created CLAIRE.

    The program scours the web for data such as criminal convictions and eviction notices and can even filter behavioural patterns through a questionnaire and on social media platforms.

    "You can assess things like how clean the person's likely to be, their level of kindness," said McLeod. "The big thing to note is that we don't look at images."

    While the program could help landlords select the right renter in a market with an almost zero per cent vacancy rate, there are concerns over whether it goes too far when it comes to privacy.

    "If you're collecting more information than is necessary, which would almost certainly include information that is in a social media platform, it is very hard for me to see how information that is disclosed on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter would be related to a tenant suitability decision," said B.C. Privacy Commissioner Bradley Weldon. "Then you're likely in contravention of PIPA (Personal Information Protection Act)."

    But McLeod called current privacy legislation "a bit outdated," and said the company has extended an invitation to the privacy commissioner's office to work together.

    "Privacy is huge, and we've been very forthcoming with the privacy commissioner's office," he said. "I think generally they've been positive with what we've come forward with, especially when it comes to consent. We're millennials, we built this product for tenants as tenants and not the other way around."

    He also said the program could benefit renters who don't have credit scores, because it provides a snapshot using other publicly available information that could encourage landlords to rent to them.

    "By using our system, our landlords and property managers are able to approve 40 per cent more applicants than they were in the past, and we've been able to reduce defaults statistically up to 75 per cent," said McLeod. "This is a great thing for renters. Typically in the rental market now its first-come, first-serve, and it's not the best tenant being chosen."

    The question the privacy commissioner's office says landlords need to ask is whether someone has been a good tenant – and they should keep that in mind as they hunt for information.


    Source:  https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/victoria-startup-creates-artificial-intelligence-to-help-landlords-screen-tenants-1.3837153

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Certn won the $10,000 BCIC Top Regional Startup prize see more

    Source: NewVenturesBC.com

    Certn takes home top regional prize from NVBC 2017

    The $110,000 BC Innovation Council (BCIC) First Prize package went to North Vancouver’s Ecoation Innovative Solutions, a platform that predicts the type, location and level of crop stress using plant signals, and communicates this information to growers via smartphone or computer. This reduces crop loss as well as the need for pesticide use. This team also won the BC Resource Industry Prize package valued at $22,000.

    “The NVBC competition was a great experience for us. The mentorship and critical feedback that we received were instrumental for our success and we will take these lessons beyond the competition. We are going to change the way we produce and protect our food, and tonight is [the beginning of] something big,” commented Saber Miresmailli, CEO and Founder of Ecoation Innovative Solutions Inc.

    Microbiome Insights, which provides clients with a deeper understanding of functions and interactions of microbial communities, took home second prize, worth over $60,000, as well the Center for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) Life Sciences prize worth $10,000 in in-kind services.

    Slickspaces, a software system that allows for remote entry into a short-term rental or AirBnb property, has won the $35,000 prize package from BCIC as well as the $25,000 Plug and Play Tech Centre prize.

    Other winners include:

    • InputHealth, which is transforming the medical record into a tool for connectivity and engagement between patients and clinicians won the $16,000 Vancity Social Venture prize package
    • Victoria-based Certn, which is changing the way clients are assessed for credit using AI, won the $10,000 BCIC Top Regional Startup prize
    • UrbanLogiq, which uses the power of data to improve city planning won the $10,000 City Innovation prize
    • CryoLogistics Refrigeration Technologies, a startup working to replace or hybridize electromechanical refrigeration (reefer) systems used to transport food and pharmaceuticals won the $11,000 International Scale-up prize, which includes a business development trip to China
    • Aeriosense Technologies, which uses drones to improve the safety and efficiency of inspecting power lines and other vertical infrastructure, won the $8,000 Wavefront Wireless in-kind prize package
    • AxSense Technologies, which produces high-performance accelerometers, took home the $8,000 BC Tech Association prize package

    “I would like to congratulate all of this year’s competition winners and recognize Ecoation Innovation Solutions in particular for taking first place with its crop stress detection platform,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs Trade and Technology. “The award recipients represent some of B.C.’s best and brightest innovators and I look forward to seeing how they will contribute to our tech sector and economy as they continue to grow.”

    “It’s incredibly exciting for us to fuel the next wave of BC innovation that will drive our local economy and change the world,” said Carl Anderson, President & CEO of the BC Innovation Council. “This year’s winners are a great example of the incredible talent, ingenuity, and innovation this province has to offer.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Certn makes Top 10 list for 2017 BCIC New Ventures Competition see more

    Certn makes Top 10 list for 2017 BCIC New Ventures Competition

    Congratulations to the startups moving on to the 4th and final round of the 2017 BCIC-New Ventures Competition... including VIATEC Member, Certn! The 10 finalists represent the best in emerging BC tech. This year showcases a wide variety of ventures and includes three regional companies: two from Victoria, and one from Castlegar. 
    Who will take home the top prizes? All winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on Sept. 25. 

    Top 10:

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Victoria-based Certn moves on to Round 3 of New Ventures BC Competition see more

    Victoria-based Certn moves on to Round 3 of New Ventures BC Competition

    The ventures have pitched and the judges’ scores are in! Here are the ten startups moving on from Round 2.5 to join Round 3 in our 2017 BCIC-New Ventures Competition. Congratulations to the ventures that are moving on.

    Moving on to Round 3 (in alphabetical order)

    1. Bellows roof anchor (1078955B.C)
    2. Certn (The first Victoria-based company to make it to the top 26!)
    3. CryoLogistics Refrigeration Technologies
    4. Cuprous Pharmaceuticals
    5. Cyberdontics
    6. InputHealth
    7. Slick Spaces Technologies
    8. TalentMarketplace
    9. Trellis Technologies
    10. Virtro Entertainment

    These companies will join the top 16 that had previously advanced directly into Round 3 (in alphabetical order). 

    In the next stage of the competition, ventures will be paired with a mentor team and create a condensed business plan.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Atrium is pleased to announce its initial investment in Certn Holdings Inc. see more

    Atrium Ventures Announces New Investment into Certn Holding’s Inc.

    Kelowna, BC – Atrium Ventures VCC Inc. (Atrium), is pleased to announce its initial investment in Certn Holdings Inc. (Certn).  Based in Victoria, British Columbia, Certn is the new standard in applicant screening and risk management tools for landlords, property management firms and credit issuers.

    Certn has aggregated over 100,000 different databases to create a platform that provides a deep quantitative understanding of an applicant’s character and risk profile that is otherwise extremely hard to get.  Using machine learning and AI, Certn validates social and public information to predict good and bad applicants from data derived from a customer’s online and social behaviour.

    “We have assembled the largest proprietary database of continuously updated, risk-relevant and risk-scored information in the industry,” said Andrew McLeod, Certn Co-Founder.  “Our solution can integrate into existing application processes or be used stand-alone, automating and streamlining the applicant decision-making process which generates significant time and cost savings.”

    Led by experienced entrepreneurs Andrew McLeod, Owen Madrick and Evan Dalton, Certn has received several recent awards and recognition including winning the Top Regional Startup prize at the 2017 New Ventures BC competition, recipients of the 2017 Fundica Cup, nomination for the 2018 Innovative Excellence Award by the Victoria Advanced Technology Council and being listed on the 2018 Ready to Rocket list.

    “We are very pleased to be supporting Certn during this period of rapid growth,” said Jeff Keen, Managing Director at Atrium. “The team has experienced significant early success, are executing on their strategy and have several very promising opportunities ahead.”

    About Atrium Ventures (VCC) Inc.

    Atrium Ventures is an entrepreneur led venture capital corporation that makes investments in promising new technology companies in British Columbia.  Atrium’s institutional investment partners include Interior Saving Credit Union and the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust.

    About Certn Holdings Inc.

    Certn is a platform used to predict the future behaviours of people. While quickly becoming one of the largest tenant screening providers in Canada, Certn has completely changed how applicant screening is done.  Historically, applicant screening processes have not leveraged available data or artificial intelligence (Al) to effectively predict behavioural outcomes. By solely using credit reports or Google searches, lenders, employers, and property managers can be turning away great clients. With Certn, you can evaluate several dimensions of character, over millions of data points, to successfully determine an individual's credibility.

    Media Contact: Jeff Keen, Managing Director

    Email: contact@atrium.vc