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Canada-based Certn, a company that provides AI-powered background screening solutions to enterprises, today announced it has raised $50 million in a series B round of funding, led by B Capital.

Over the years, background checks have matured a lot. Organizations that once hired agencies for most serious background verifications (such as for passports or federal roles) and waited weeks for clearance are now looking at tools for automated checks

Founded in 2016, Certn targets the same market with its AI-driven solution. It conducts real-time comprehensive background checks and ongoing risk monitoring for employees, contractors and tenants around the world.

How does it work?

Enterprises signing up for Certn are provided with a platform to create and deliver a background screening application to the potential candidate. The candidate is then asked to provide the required information (education qualifications, image, etc.) through an intuitive interface, accessed through any device of their choice. 

“They can easily verify their identity via a selfie using our OneID and a government-issued ID card photo. All personal data, consents and authorizations are collected from the candidate to prevent any errors or delays. The information is then quickly verified using Certn’s AI and machine learning solution,” Andrew McLeod, the CEO and cofounder of the company, told Venturebeat.

As part of this, the solution combs through risk-relevant data from reputable databases and registries to verify the candidate’s authenticity. According to the company’s website, it connects to over 200,000 public data sources and conducts a variety of checks (depending on the location), starting from basic things such as educational qualifications and employment history to credit, motor vehicle and criminal records. 

“This is our identity verification step. This is a crucial step because if someone enters the wrong birthday or location or even a misspelling, this could cause a real headache. Then, we proactively correct the information to ensure we have accurate information. From there, we’ve built a global compliance engine to ensure that only relevant data is served to the requester of the background check, all of the data is accurate and the consent meets local requirements. Our system also learns in real-time what the fastest way to get the required results from the source is,” McLeod explained.

The organization/person ordering the background check gets a unified dashboard to examine the verification status of all the candidates and make a fact-based decision on who is the best individual to select as an employee/tenant. 

In all, Certn claims that its solution can give results of background checks in a matter of minutes, allowing enterprises to reduce their time to hire by up to 80%. This also reduces hiring costs and improves the experience of both the employer and employee.

Growth

Currently, the solution is used by over 2,800 enterprises, including leading employers, staffing firms and property management companies. 

However, it is not the only player using AI to conduct background checks. Checkr, GoodHire, HireRight, Intelligo, Kroll, K2 Integrity, Paycom and Exiger are some of the leading companies that are solving this years-old problem in different parts of the world. 

“GoodHire is currently one of Certn’s largest competitors as they’ve just been acquired by Checkr to expand their business,” McLeod said. He emphasized that Certn stands out in this crowded space by providing the fastest and most comprehensive reports, a user-friendly user experience and a wide variety of checks to meet the needs of different regions across the globe.

Planning ahead

With this round, which takes the total fund-raise to $84 million, Certn will focus on entering into new markets and expanding its presence worldwide. 

“This funding round is primarily growth capital to help drive our expansion in new markets and deliver a trusted experience to our customers globally. We recently acquired Credence, a screening business based in the U.K. They have a track record of delivering a great experience for customers and integration with Certn’s technology has helped them deliver an even better experience at a larger scale. We plan to continue our expansion globally and you can expect similar acquisition announcements over the course of the year, as we look to share our purpose of building trust on a global stage,” McLeod said.

According to Allied Market Research, the global employment screening services market was valued at $4.95 billion in 2020 and is projected to touch $10 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 9.2% during the period.

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