Stripe for ID verification: Investors bet on new Madrona Venture Labs accelerator startup Vouched

Vouched CEO John Baird. (Vouched Photo)

Vouched, a Seattle startup using AI to verify people’s identities online, has joined the Madrona Venture Labs accelerator.

The 3-month accelerator program launched last year in a bid by VC firm Madrona Venture Group to lure talent from tech giants. It is focused on established teams and offers startups coaching and connections to investors.

Vouched uses AI to review documents in order to help companies verify the identity of its customers, clients and contractors. Those documents could be anything from passports and driver’s licenses to proofs of address and insurance. The idea is to turn a manual process requiring lots of time and staff into an automated one.

“We’re working behind the scenes to verify people on sites you might use every day. You might have already used Vouched and don’t even know it,” Vouched CEO John Baird said in an email.

Vouched has raised $700,000 to date. In addition to a $100,000 investment Madrona Venture Labs, Vouched’s other investors include Zulily co-founder Darrell Cavens, New Engen CEO Dave Atchison, investor Mike Potter, Bulletproof 360 VP Brian Watkins, Revolve CFO Jesse Timmermans, and Vijay Talwar, CEO of EMEA at Footlocker.

Baird said Vouched aims to do for ID verification what services like Stripe have done for online payments, with a focus on ease of use, affordability, accuracy and scale. Vouched is incorporated under the name Woolly Labs.

Baird founded the company with John Cao, who serves as chief product and technology officer. Vasanth Balakrishnan is the startup’s head of AI research.

“Increasingly, companies never meet their customers, clients, or even employees,” Baird said. “How do you know, for example, that a gig economy worker has the legally required credentials to work in their industry?”

Baird declined to share the names of customers, but said that Vouched works with “companies in sectors such as the gig and sharing economy, telemedicine, transportation, and enterprise software.”

This is the second company to join Madrona’s accelerator. The first was Invio, a software startup that helps speed up clinical trials, which graduated in January and was a GeekWire Elevator Pitch finalist. The Madrona Venture Labs accelerator is currently accepting applications. The program is run by managing directors Mike Fridgen and Ben Elowitz, Partner Shauna Causey, and CTO Jay Bartot out of Create33, the “founder center” that opened beneath Madrona Venture Group last year.