Konfir, a London-based HRtech that aims to become the standard for employment verification, has raised £2 million in seed funding. Investors included Triple Point, Love Ventures, and Portfolio Ventures, and the funding will support Konfir as it enhances and expands its product.
Founder and CEO Chris Milligan joined TFN to tell us about why he started Konfir and his plans to expand its reach, benefiting both employers and employees.
Developed from HR need
Milligan’s background has been a mix of Human Resources and startups. Hailing from Brisbane, he started his career as an HR consultant before founding Adepto, a platform that helped businesses match their talent to their projects. He moved to London in 2016 as part of the platform’s expansion, before moving to the US when Adepto was acquired by Degreed.
It was here that he first got the inspiration for Konfir. “I’d seen HR data and payroll data becoming more accessible and I investigated what was happening in the UK and Europe,” he recalls. “There was a big opportunity to help with employment and income verification across all use cases.”
Konfir’s offer may seem simple — they offer a quick way to confirm employment history — but it solves a major headache for many HR professionals. “The majority of employers, before they hire, do a background check,” says Milligan. But while many parts of this, like checking the right to work or for a criminal record, have been automated, confirming employment history remains manual. “It’s emailing and asking ‘did this person work here?’ and hoping to get a reply. But only 60% of those emails get a reply.” The result can be weeks of delays. Some businesses will ask for alternative evidence, such as bank statements detailing salary payments, which has privacy issues, or simply give up, putting them at risk of a bad hire.
Konfir changes this to a process that takes just a few minutes. “We’ve built a journey that asks the candidate to connect their bank accounts, or for an employer to connect their payroll accounts,” Milligan explains. The system uses this to extract only the employment history, “instantly the data comes back, we apply some algorithms to it and our model shows the last three to five years’ employment.”
Although it offers significant benefits to employers, who can streamline their hiring processes, Milligan says that employees are also benefiting. As well as being able to start new jobs sooner, they are also in more control. “The data is accurate because it’s not just someone’s email, it’s coming from the source of truth: the bank or payroll system,” he says. “And although the data are processed by us, the candidate owns it, and we show less than the traditional approach will share.” Although the system requires the agreement of candidates to process their data, Milligan says that the benefits are such that around 80% of candidates agree to Konfir processing their employment history.
Applications beyond HR
Konfir are also looking at applications for their service beyond HR. Adrian Love, co-founder and general partner of Love Ventures, noted that employment verification is not just about applying for jobs, “it’s crazy that there’s been no single source of instant employment and income data verification until now. This is especially pressing given the huge variety and volume of companies crying out for this crucial data validation when helping customers take on life’s big events; whether it’s getting a job, house, credit, or anything in between.”
Milligan has already been considering this, and points out there is a wider screening market. “Those checks are done if you are looking to move house and have to prove to your landlord that you’ve got a job. Or if you are looking to get a mortgage. Or if you want to get a car loan. Or even a credit card,” he said. “We’ve started selling it to HR, but the opportunity is to then take that across all the other use cases.”
Milligan plans to use the funding to develop their service. Rather than expanding their fourteen-strong team, he hopes to make Konfir a default system for HR. “The focus for us has been proving the model works and that employers and candidates will use it,” he said. But he is confident of their successes so far, and believes that the benefits their current users have seen show that there is demand for Konfir. “We’re really starting to create the market, so the investment allows us to continue to make this a standard in the UK.”