Y Combinator-Backed Checkr Automates Background Checks For The New, On-Demand Economy

The nature of employment is changing. Thanks to a growing number of platforms offering on-demand services in more places around the world, there’s now massive demand for workers to perform services and deliver goods to users. As those businesses have scaled up, that’s created a need for better processes around vetting and bringing on new workers quickly.

The best example of this is probably Uber, which reported recently that it will complete 2 million background checks in 2014. But the process of getting background checks completed hasn’t changed much, even if companies are requesting a whole lot more of them.

Y Combinator-backed Checkr wants to change that.

Checkr was founded by Daniel Yanisse and Jonathan Perichon, who are two software engineers that used to work for an on-demand delivery startup that ran into the problem of running background checks for drivers it wanted to recruit. They decided that if they added a little bit of technology, they would be able to automate the process and enable companies to fit into their existing workflows.

The result is a system that enables clients to easily sign up and screen candidates either via an online form, or by using its REST API to connect with their own hiring systems. Standard reports include one county criminal background checks for $25, while a premium report costs $35 and include county searches for every place that a candidate has lived in the past seven years.

Background checks include social security number validation, address history, sex offender searches, and checks against terrorist watch lists and national crime databases. For companies hiring drivers, Checkr can run a driving record check for an additional $5 plus DMV fee. (Bulk discounts, of course, are also available.)

example report

Checkr uses the same data sources as traditional background check companies, but can usually turn them around a lot more quickly than the incumbents. Reports generally come back anytime between an hour and a couple of days, depending on how complex they are, but most are ready within 24 hours.

Clients are limited to those who are doing background checks for commercial purposes only — that is, for employment or tenant screening, car sharing, or something similar. The system cannot be used for random consumer checks.

Its clients ability to scale up depends a lot on the speed with which they can sign on new contractors, so Checkr could help improve what is today a pretty clunky process. Perhaps more importantly, the automated nature of the service enables clients to simplify input of names to search and the data that is returned.

Since launching in April, the company has been focused on serving the on-demand space and has signed on around 40 clients, including companies like Instacart, Doordash, and Shyp. With them on board, it is processing about 1,500 background checks a month, and growing that number by about 25 percent a week.

But of course, it’s always looking for more clients, and hopes to help solve one of the biggest problems that companies in the on-demand space currently gave.