As more services move on-demand, and as more businesses that rely on on-demand workers go global, there’s a growing need for companies in the on-demand space to simplify the way contractors are vetted and reduce the amount of time it takes to bring them on-board.
A U.K.-based startup called Onfido wants to help automate the process of doing background checks in this new, on-demand economy. With that purpose in mind, the company has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding to help it grow into new markets, especially the U.S.
Founded in 2012, Onfido enables companies to quickly verify the identity of workers and run criminal and other necessary background checks. Instead of doing manual checks like most traditional agencies, Onfido has created a platform that automates the collection of data, which can speed up hiring and on-boarding.
Companies provide applicants with a link, through which they enter personal information and documentation to verify their identity. Once Onfido has that info, it can go deeper into an applicant’s criminal or driving background, depending on what’s necessary for a given job.
The need for faster, more efficient background checks has come into focus as companies rapidly hire on-demand contractors. Uber, for one, says it’s bringing 50,000 new partners on board every month. And in many cases, workers are applying for jobs with multiple different services.
To accelerate its expansion into new markets, the company has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by European venture fund Wellington Partners, with participation from CrunchFund (disclosure: founded by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington), as well as Lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman, BlaBlaCar cofounder Nicolas Brusson, Onefinestay co-founder Greg Marsh, Artfinder co-founder Spencer Hyman, former Google UK managing director Dan Cobley.
Onfido currently does checks in the U.S. and 28 countries across Europe. It has attracted more than 400 clients in those territories, including U.S.-based on-demand services like Handy and Homejoy for their overseas operations. With the funding, Onfido plans to expand into seven more countries by the end of the year.
By doing so, Onfido will be going up against some existing players. In addition to traditional agencies, there are also startups like Checkr here that have also moved to automate background checks and provide an API for hiring. (Checkr, for what it’s worth, has raised $9 million to tackle the same problem.)
But the background check market is probably large enough for multiple players — and it’s growing fast. Just as there are more than just one company giving on-demand rides, and there are more than one company doing on-demand cleaning services, there will probably be multiple services that those potential customers turn to.