Iraq War veteran and Troop ID founder Blake Hall has scored a cool $2.1 million from notable investors, such as David Tisch and Mark McLaughlin. The former elite soldier has raised a total of $5.7 million for his identity service that verifies military credentials and partners them with brands.
“The concept of the business is simple. We noticed that brands were relying on offline channels — and largely neglecting their digital channels — to offer active military and veterans commercial discounts, employment opportunities, skill training vouchers, etc,” writes Hall to TechCrunch in an email. “When we talked to the marketing and corporate citizenry teams, we discovered that marketers were afraid of fraud and abuse if they offered an exclusive discount via their web and mobile apps — read a military discount URL getting shared on RetailMeNot or Fat Wallet — so we developed a Single Sign On that accesses authoritative data stores on the back end so that merchants can offer exclusive discounts, employment opportunties [sic], skill training, etc to service members, veterans, and their immediate family members via their digital channels. ”
Hall’s success with brands, such as Under Armour, has even gotten a rare nod from the White House. “Companies like Troop ID answered First Lady Michelle Obama’s appeal to ‘Do what you do best’ in connecting service members, veterans and military spouses with the resources they deserve. Joining Forces applauds Troop ID, the companies with whom it partners to offer military deals, and all companies that find ways to honor the service of our military and their family members,” wrote White House Fellow at Joint Forces, U.S. Army Captain Archie Bates, on an official White House blog.
Beyond Troop ID’s consumer aims, “trusted identities” are an important part of the Administration’s approach to online verification. The United States has eschewed the creation of a single national online identification, instead attempting a decentralized approach through multiple, compatible private companies, the so-called “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” (NSTIC). Troop ID, or a company similar to Troop ID, could potentially serve as a model for the ecosystem of verification companies.
“People want to help and to take some of the burden off the less than 1 percent of Americans who wear the uniform, and we’ve created a channel that lets them do that through Troop ID,” concludes Hall.