Certn: building the network for international identity management

The conversation around remote teams has received a lot of attention in the past year, but at Inovia it’s a trend we’ve observed and discussed for a long time.

Distributed talent networks are mutually beneficial to employees and employers alike; individuals get to choose from a wide pool of companies while companies stand to benefit from greater supply and at lower costs. Last year our team evaluated ten years of data showing startups setting up satellite offices in Canada — see here. Results show that since 2017 we’ve seen an acceleration in the pace of satellite office openings in Canada, one opening every two weeks. Our team has helped multiple portfolio companies on their journey to access globally distributed talent pools, including Sonder and AppDirect which have both set up HQ2’s in Canada. Despite a growing demand for remote talent, the process of remote hiring and identity validation is still slow and painful.

COVID has forced distributed teams to become accustomed to remote collaboration. This shift in how people interact with one another has had rippling effects on the global trust economy, fueling demand for a faster, more comprehensive, and easy-to-use solution. We saw how companies were forever waiting on background checks and asked ourselves ‘why isn’t there a solution to solve this problem in minutes rather than days?’

Victoria-based Certn provides just that solution. The platform returns domestic and international criminal background checks, identity verification, credit reports, education verification, employment verification, and more in minutes. They’ve seen exceptional capital-efficient growth over the past 24 months and serve a range of established enterprises and startups in North America, including Grammarly, Telus, and HudsonBay.

Certn is led by a product-driven team with a strong execution record and an extreme focus on customer satisfaction. Andrew, Owen and Evan worked together at Rent Moola, a leading property management payments startup. At Rent Moola, the three experienced firsthand the pain of slow and mundane legacy processes associated with individual verification and background checks. One of their key insights was that there were no single providers capable of verifying data worldwide. The industry lacked innovative, friendly, and compliant technology for its customers. Once the team figured out a faster, better and cheaper alternative, they launched Certn and have changed how the industry accesses background checks. Adam Spector, an angel investor participating in the round, early Checkr investor and founder of AbstractOps reiterated this “I invested because the founders are compelling, their innovation and speed is palpable, and their ambition to solve this problem is clear”.

We’re incredibly excited to lead Certn’s Series A and partner with Tribe Capital, 01 Advisors, Preface Ventures, Scribble Ventures, Owl Capital, and Telstra Ventures on this journey.