Media & Entertainment

Identified, The Search Engine For Professionals, Opens Public Access To Its 50 Million Rankings


With an enormous professional social network consisting of over 100 million users, LinkedIn is undoubtedly a great business — and a valuable service. Of course, the problem with LinkedIn and other professional networking and job platforms is that there’s a lack of real conversation between individuals and businesses. Hands down, businesses are looking to hire great talent, but they want more robust ways to find the most relative candidates for their open positions and job seekers want better tools to find the top ranked companies that are relevant to their backgrounds, what those companies are looking for in candidates — and they want feedback.

In September, two Stanford Business School, grads Brendan Wallace and Adeyemi Ajao, launched the beta build of Identified, a professional job search engine built on Facebook data that looks to take on LinkedIn and BranchOut (among others) in an effort to give job seekers and companies a better way to connect and find talent. The main feature of Identified is its so-called “Identified Score”, which assign a numerical rank (out of 100) to professionals based on their work history, education history and social network.

Wallace and Ajao call these rankings “Google Page Rank for people”; just as the search giant ranks websites based on their relevance to certain search terms, Identified uses its scores to do just that with professionals. The ranking is a proxy for relevance, so based on a user’s most up-to-date background information, they will show up in searches for categories that are relevant to their most recent jobs, etc.

Working with metadata from Facebook, Identified has already created listings for more than 50 million people, although only 150K of those people are active monthly users. But that’s just in six weeks since the launch of its beta. Already, tens of thousands of people are accessing Identified Scores each day to evaluate professionals for recruiting, sales, networking, background checks, and more. What’s more, over 1.8 million scores have been viewed to date, and Wallace says that thousands of companies have already requested access to these scores to pre-screen candidates for recruiting.

But the real value here, Wallace said, is that the average age of the Identified user is 24, and over 90 percent of its users are under the age of 30. With companies vying, categorically, to hire the best young talent, Identified offers businesses an easy, score-based (and relevance-based search) method of finding that talent.

Today, Identified is officially launching out of its public beta, and will now be offering free and open access (for both companies and the public) to the scores of those 50 million-odd professionals. This means that all Identified Scores are now public and will be searchable and accessible to anyone on the Web (and will pop up in Google searches) — companies included. Privacy settings will be included, thankfully.

And to that point, Identified also offers scores for over 60,000 companies and more than 8,000 universities, and Wallace said that many of the early signups the company has seen have come from employees wanting to add more relevant information to the listings of their company or university to up their scores. It’s this kind of gamification that can be a huge legup for Identified.

As Identified Scores go up based on interest from other users or companies (by way of number of views, clicks, and actual hires), the more one adds to their profile, the higher the likelihood becomes that their score will go up, presumably based on their being placed higher in search rankings. Wallace believes that this “the more you add, the higher you’re ranked”, gamified approach presents a higher degree of opportunity for engagement among users, as interaction with their rankings have real world, and career implications.

Of course, having made their scores public so that anyone can now view the scores of 50 million people, there’s some potential here for controversy, but Identified has built in controls so that non-Identified users can only view those profiles of companies and individuals that are registered users.

Yet, the other question for Identified’s ranking system is: What if you didn’t go to an Ivy League school, but you’re still an awesome engineer, for example? Since the point of building its platform on top of Facebook data is to allow people to create networks around the friends and associates they actually interact with (and count as “Friends” on Facebook), if a user shows impressive career history and strong connections/relationships to top engineers, then not having gone to a “top school” becomes less relevant.

Of course, Identified Scores are not meant to be reflective of a person’s “actual worth” — just because you have a “65” and your friend has an “80”, doesn’t necessarily mean that your friend is a better person, is smarter, etc. In a sense, the company’s scores are like stock prices, in that they don’t necessarily reflect one’s true inherent value, they are based on relevant criteria — in this case to search terms. The scores aren’t perfect.

Even so, Identified adds a level of transparency to the labor market and opens a channel of communication between companies and professionals that has been incomplete to date. Being able to see how “in demand” you are based on your professional history, which companies are looking for employees like you, and how, in turn, you can make yourself more attractive to employers — is a valuable step forward for the professional networking space.

It’s not perfect yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. Whether or not Identified becomes a potential target for acquisition by LinkedIn or just a flat out competitor remains to be seen. But, according to Wallace, they’ve seen that some recognizable names at LinkedIn have been checking out the site.

And investors are certainly interested, as the startup has already raised $5.5 million from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Bill and Tim Draper, former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya, Farmville Founder Zao Yang, among others.

For more on Identified, check ’em out here, or see Robin’s initial coverage here.

More TechCrunch

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

OpenAI is removing one of the voices used by ChatGPT after users found that it sounded similar to Scarlett Johansson, the company announced on Monday. The voice, called Sky, is…

OpenAI to remove ChatGPT’s Scarlett Johansson-like voice

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

1 day ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century