New Delhi-based InstaVeritas is a firm that helps organisations verify the people they are hiring.
If you just took a step back, you’d realise that we are living in a world that is being taken over by apps, especially in metro cities. We hail a cab using an app, we get food delivered via an app, and there is someone who comes and completes your tasks for you. While there is no doubt about the convenience factor, there is also no denying the number of unsavoury incidents associated with them.
Whether it is a cab driver or a delivery guy, these interactions have their fair share of risks, making it imperative to have some way of ensuring security from a compliance perspective.
It was looking at this problem that 29-year-old Nikhil Mulchandani, an ex-KPMG and private equity professional with over five years of experience, decided to start InstaVeritas, a technology-driven background verification firm that focuses on addressing the human-risk element, in 2015.
“Our vision is to arm our clients with powerful data that helps them make well-informed hiring decisions.The ever-rising crime rate coupled with fraud in the recruitment process is making intelligent screening a norm across industries,” says Nikhil.
After mulling over the idea for over six months, Nikhil roped in his friend and colleague Abhishek Rathi, who had worked with Ixora Ventures as an analyst and led investments into two companies in the edtech space.
Six months into the venture, they were joined by 26-year-old Himanshu Pal, previously a core team member at Zapify. “He transformed our idea into a technology-driven verification firm. At present, he heads the technology team that drives innovation and new projects at InstaVeritas,” says Nikhil.
They started off with a laser focus on blue-collar employee verifications, where they validated government ID cards, addresses, and criminal records. In January 2015, they were a team of two using Excel sheets and conducting manual searches, taking hours for a single check. Their first client was PepperFry
Having come a long way since then, the team claims to be a technology-driven, full-service verification agency that offers smart, fast, customisable, and scalable solutions across sectors. “We are working with over 200 companies including GMR, Infosys, Jubilant Group, Ola, and Apollo Hospitals, to name a few of the notable clients,” says Nikhil.
However, their biggest challenge has been educating clients about the need for a strong background verification policy. Though one might assume that all employers run at least a basic background check on the people they hire, the grim reality is that a small percentage actually do. Adding to InstaVeritas’ troubles was the complete domination by the likes of KPMG, First Advantage, and Authbridge, who had a head start of at least a decade.
“At the time when we started our business, there were various startups, organisations, logistics firms, and food aggregators who were booming and raising huge amounts of VC funding, enabling them to expand at an unprecedented scale. With this came the need for a smart, fast, and affordable screening solution. That was the opening we needed to solidify our offerings across a multiplicity of segments,” adds Nikhil.
Today working on a pure play technology platform, InstaVeritas first identifies the various human-risk interactions for every client, on the basis of which it tailors a detailed solution. The team claims that their systems are integrated with those of their clients to ensure that candidate data flows seamlessly.
Once they receive the data such as ID proof, educational certificates, and employment records, the actual work begins. Nikhil adds that they are organised as specialised teams for each verification vertical — identity, address, criminal records, education, and employment. Depending on the level of the check, the candidate’s details flow in a conveyor belt fashion across the various teams. He adds,
“InstaVeritas is an authorised Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which enables us to carry our Aadhaar authentications in real time via biometric or demographic information. As the most widely accepted forms of identity, this is the first level check on an individual under verification. We also validate documents such as driver’s licence, PAN card, and voter ID.”
For field verifications, they have verification agents who cover every district of the country. In addition to validating an address, they collect photographs, neighbour references, and GPS coordinates. This check is critical to ensure traceability of the candidate in question.
The criminal records check is a key differentiator. The team claims to use machine learning and intelligent search algorithms to deliver more comprehensive and faster checks than traditional industry standards.
“We are recognised to have the highest hit rates for finding criminal records in the industry and that is why we are the chosen partner for a number of companies who are hiring a large number of blue-collar workers,” claims Nikhil.
The team claims to have added 100 clients last year, up from 10 last year. Some of the key clients include Ola, Sequoia, Welspun, Apollo, Infosys, and GMR. The team claims to have a 100 percent quarter-on-quarter growth. Revenue growth is projected to be five times of the growing number ear ended 2015-2016. Last month, the team claims to have validated over 25,000 data points.
With the growing number of complaints against drivers, delivery boys, and even people faking their CVs, startups today are looking at this as a big problem to solve. Some of the other players in the field are Better Place and Idfy. Even Locus, the logistics platform which raised funding from Blume Venture Partners, had started with safety tracking.
Currently bootstrapped and a team of 30, InstaVeritas is looking to raise their first round of funding by the middle of this year.
“For the volumes we handle, most companies employ over 100 people. We are razor focused on building a long-term, sustainable venture that delivers value to its customers. We spent the first two years carefully building the foundations for InstaVeritas. We are now geared to take this company to the next level and be a formidable player in this industry,” concludes Nikhil.