Protect your Identity with Co-founder & CEO at IDPartner, Rod Boothby

Steve interviews Rod Boothby, Co-founder & CEO at IDPartner Systems

FEATURING: Rod Boothby, Co-founder & CEO at IDPartner

In this episode, I speak with Rod Boothby, Co-founder & CEO of IDPartner Systems.

Rod talks about the importance of bringing trust back to the web. He shares his journey in co-founding IDPartner, raising a $3.1M seed round, and leveraging an ecosystem of financial institutions to establish trust in online transactions with reusable digital identities.

RESOURCES:

Connecting with Rod Boothby

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rodboothby/

Companies & Resources Discussed

IDPartner: https://www.idpartner.com/

IDPartner Not A Bot: https://notabot.idpartner.com/

NPM: https://www.npmjs.com/

AIG: https://www.aig.com/home

Github: https://github.com/

Microsoft: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/

Santander: https://www.santanderbank.com/

Abstract Ventures: https://www.abstractvc.com/

Foundation Capital: https://foundationcapital.com/

Correlation Ventures: https://correlationvc.com/

Circle: https://www.circle.com/en/circle-ventures

Firsthand Alliance: https://www.firsthand.vc/

Stanford StartX: https://startx.com/

Livestrong Foundation: https://www.livestrong.org/

Lex Fridman Podcast: https://lexfridman.com/marc-andreessen/

Lex Fridman PhD Thesis: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/190331679.pdf

Wells Fargo: https://www.wellsfargo.com/

Bank of America: https://www.bankofamerica.com/

Early Warning Systems: https://www.earlywarning.com/

SecureKey: https://securekey.com/

Bank Secrecy Act of 1970: https://www.fincen.gov/resources/statutes-and-regulations/bank-secrecy-act

Gleif: https://www.gleif.org/en/about-lei/gleif-management-of-the-global-lei-system

JP Morgan Chase: https://www.jpmorganchase.com/

Checkr: https://checkr.com/

Avvanz: https://www.avvanz.com/

Singpass: https://www.singpass.gov.sg/main/

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Steve Craig: Welcome to the PEAK IDV EXECUTIVE SERIES video podcast, where I speak with executive leaders, founders, and change makers in the digital identity space. I'm your host, Steve Craig, chief Enablement Officer at PEAK IDV. For our audience, this is a video first series, so if you're enjoying the audio version, please check out the full recording on executiveseries.peakidv.com, where you can watch the full-length videos, read transcripts. Any of the resources or links we discuss, I'll be posting those there at executiveseries.peakidv.com.

Very excited about today's guest. He is Rod Boothby, Co-founder and CEO of IDPartner. IDPartner is building an open global trust network for identity verification that is powered by financial institutions. Prior to founding ID partner, Rod was Global Head of Identity for Santander's Digital Platform and prior to Santander, Rod was Global Head of APIs for AIG.

He also co-founded NPM. It's a Node.js, JavaScript package management platform that was acquired by GitHub, which is now part of Microsoft. Super excited to have you here Rod. Welcome!

Rod Boothby: Thank you very much for having me. Really appreciate it.

Steve Craig: Thanks for taking the time to be on the podcast. Now, I just gave a little bit of a primer on IDPartner. I don't know if I gave it a full justice with that one line description. Can you share more about what you're building there?

Rod Boothby: Our goal is to bring trust to the Internet, and there's two aspects to it. The first is, how do I, as a business, trust my customers? And then how do I, as an individual, prove that I'm trustworthy?

Today, we have a situation where businesses have to background check every customer that comes to them. What we want to do is to flip the paradigm and put control in the hands of the end-user and allow a person to come to a site and say, look, I don't have to upload all of my identity cards. I don't have to do a liveness check. I can prove that I am who I claim to be, that I'm a solid citizen. You can work with me. Nothing's going to go wrong. And the way to do that is simply to ask my bank.

So, I'm Rod Boothby. Ask my bank. They'll tell you that I'm really who I claim to be. I've banked with them for 20 years. I can tell you that I'm the really, the CEO of my company IDPartner, my bank will confirm that.

Steve Craig: So really puts the financial institution at the center of that trust equation.

Rod Boothby: Well, the financial institutions have a special role in our society. They're really regulated. And they have a special privilege position when it comes to identity. The simple reason for that is that governments want to get paid their taxes.

So in the US for example, there's a law, the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970. It makes it illegal to lie to your bank. It’s not illegal to lie to Facebook, for example. They can kick you off their platform for breaking their terms of service, but it doesn't actually put you in legal jeopardy.

However, going to a bank and opening an account with a false name even before moving any money is against the law. And that thing alone, combined with the regulation, requiring banks to do a lot of work to figure out who you are, and then combined with their lifetime of observations about your patterns of behavior, put them in a perfect position to verify who you are.

Identity, also, you can think of it as an asset class. Your identity is your property. We know this because we say things like your ID can be stolen. So where do you keep your property? Well, at a financial institution.

Steve Craig: Yeah. That's, that's phenomenal. And IDPartner a startup. You, you've raised 3.1 million in seed. Congratulations. I know that was just recently announced, but that was raised last year? Towards the end of last year?

Rod Boothby: Last year, yeah. And it kicked off with support from Aaron VanDevender, as an angel investor, and then Ramtin from Abstract Ventures joined. Foundation Capital, joined the round.

We had a large family office join the round. Correlation Ventures. Circle, quite a few angels. Great support. One of the best was Simon Chan and his Firsthand Alliance, amazing folks. One of the best VCs out there in terms of fantastic practical help. So we've been really lucky with the folks that have joined.

Steve Craig: That's great. And, and I know it's been challenging the last year as the economy has had a lot of uncertainty. What was it like raising that size of seed round with the headwinds we've seen in the Fed raising the rates and the era of free money going away. Like what was that experience like?

Rod Boothby: We're part of StartX and we really followed their mantra which is do a blitz. Come up with a way of quickly identifying all of the VCs that you need to get in touch with. And then once you've done that, figure out how to personally get introduced to every single one of them through your network. So it's a lot of time spent on LinkedIn reaching out to folks and going through a long list of people who are already focused on the space and get it. Personal introductions really count for a lot, especially in difficult times and through what it was.

Steve Craig: A lot of meetings I imagine, and a lot of back and forth. And were there No’s or were people just shut it down, “Hey, this is not the right time”

Rod Boothby: I saw a podcast or listened to a podcast recently between Lex Friedman and Mark Andreessen. And Mark was actually really kind from the perspective of a co-founder about what it takes to be a co-founder.

He said there's two characteristics. You've got to be smart, you've go to have a heck of a lot of energy. He said the last one, though, is a choice. He called it courage. I think that's a generous thing. Maybe tenacity. He described it as being impervious to pain. Maybe that's why I am a co-founder?

I don't know. When I was 24, I got whacked by a truck. I was a pedestrian. The truck was doing 90 kilometers an hour. I had 77 breaks and fractures. I know what it is to deal with a long journey. And so a bunch of No’s from VCs, it's par for the course. Yeah. It's a bumpy road.

It's not always a “no” about your idea. Sometimes it's a no about the timing of where their fund's at. Sometimes it's a no because they saw a pattern that was slightly similar somewhere else in their lifetime that maybe they don't like how your go-to-market is, or they don't like your color background for your logo, or it can be completely inane.

And so you take the deep insights that they have, add them in, learn how to overcome them, and you build a better and better pitch over time.

Steve Craig: That's great feedback. One of the, the Yes’s I noticed in a press release about this was Lance Armstrong is one of your angel investors. That's thee Lance Armstrong the cyclist is involved?

Rod Boothby: Yeah. We got introduced through some of the angels that were participating and… I lost my mom to cancer. I remember towards the end, the nurses that were helping to take care of her, they had the bracelets, the Livestrong bracelets, and that guy provided hope for us. And a kind of an insight, a simple symbol that was really important at a very, very difficult time.

I was honored to work with him, because of that. I think people, often forget, but anybody who's lost a family member to cancer and has been touched by the Livestrong Foundation will know how important the work he's done is. So I'm really happy that he's part of it. The guy's a smart investor.

Steve Craig: You've heard it here. Lance Armstrong is in, in the identity space with IDPartner. That's, that's amazing, Rod. And you mentioned StartX, the accelerator for Stanford. Can you share more about that? Like what was that experience like for, for getting you off the ground?

Rod Boothby: They are as great a setup as you could possibly get. They don't take any equity! They're a long-term thinking play. They want to have people who have affiliations with Stanford. Mine's pretty light. I did an executive education course there that taught me how to price financial derivatives, and then that veered my career in in a very positive way for a while.

But the place is very near and dear to me because of it. What they do is they help people who have an affiliation out getting going. And what they hope is that over time, if you are successful, you'll donate some money back to the university, and if we are, I absolutely will. Because I'm very grateful for it.

But they're a first-rate team and what they say, beyond advice on running rounds is, the most important thing I've taken from them is don't think about what you need to do in many of these cases when you're tapping your network, think about who you need to get to. Their network is ridiculous.

So it's always about finding specific individuals that we need to reach that'll help us, and we're very much a network play. So it's, it's very powerful for us.

Steve Craig: That's great. I had in a previous episode two founders that went through the Y-Combinator program and they had very similar things to say about the network and the advice they got from the mentorship teams that that's, that's great.

I want to shift a little bit backwards in time though, and talk about your previous role and what got you to starting IDPartner. You were at Santander for nearly three years. You're working on digital trust services and I watched some of the things you have on YouTube, different engagements, and you're trying to move this, this concept of identity from like this compliance cost center to a profit center.

Can you share more about that work? And then you also worked at AIG on APIs, like if you could connect those, it'd be, it'd be really interesting to hear how those came together in those roles.

Rod Boothby: Each one was an interesting challenge. AIG wanted to turn around and deliver APIs. A lot of people have interacted with my AIG API.

If you've ever booked a flight on United and you've seen the button at the end that says, would you like travel insurance? That's powered by AIG and my team helped deliver that. It was, it was a lot of fun to create a really impressive organization. If anything does go wrong, they have this entire room that looks like a NASA room to help coordinate flights and medical teams to help you out.

You can be on a safari in Kenya and they'll have first grade medical people in place to help get you home. Really impressive. What I learned from that was the power of insurance. And that'll come up as we talk further about identity. Because really what it is all about is understanding what identity is and then understanding what risk is and understanding how, not only to stop it, but to transfer it.

And so that's carried me forward when I got to Santander and it was through some friends that referred me into a team that was being built up to do some innovation at Santander. I was tasked with trying to help the bank innovate around identity and so I spent a bit of time getting to know how the bank verifies its customers.

First off, they start with having known most customers for many, many years. Second, despite variations around the world, generally, it's pretty consistent. Banks are required to do a lot of work to figure out who the customer is in the first place, and depending on the country, that has to be done in the branch.

In Brazil, you have to go into the branch and they will take your thumbprint. In Mexico, you have to go into the branch and they'll take your four fingerprints. In both places, they can reverify that through the camera over a mobile device to make sure it's you in addition to your face. In addition to vocal prints, they've got all of these step-up authentication capabilities, and what I'd learned is that no matter where across the Santander footprint, they have this long string of step-up authentication capabilities so that after they've gotten to know the customer in the first place and they've looked at your government credentials and they've watched a pattern of you earning money and spending money and, uh, where you go and if you've got a mobile device, they're watching what networks you're on and where you're traveling and what time of day you use it in passive biometrics.

Lex Friedman, for example, that was what his PhD thesis was on. Identity. Sam Altman, his second project at the moment, it's about identity. It is the biggest unsolved problem out there, generally. We've got bits and pieces of the solution, but we haven't got a grandiose solution. What I learned was that the bank was really pretty capable. To the tune of seven to eight nines, they could accurately identify their customers. Always. The loss rates for account takeover were extraordinarily small. So I looked at it and I thought, wow, okay. I don't really have a lot to innovate here. So then I pulled this Silicon Valley stunt, which is, all right, well, let's sell this as a service.

It’s really good! Let's turn around and not solve it internally, but instead see if we could deliver it externally. And the journey there was a long one, but a fun one. The said, okay, well, go get a customer. So I got referred by Gretchen Rodriguez to a guy called Ashish Jain at eBay. And Ashish was wonderful.

He was really kind. He said, okay, this is a good idea. Our buyers can better trust our sellers if their name and their reputation had been verified by a bank. That sounds good. Santander only has 153 million customers. What about the other seven and a half billion people on the planet? Okay. So then he said, go get all the other banks.

Just, that's it. All the other banks? Yeah, all the other banks. All right, thanks Ashish. So I went back to Santander. I went to the headquarters in Spain and Boadilla and the folks there had a simple answer for me. Yeah, we can help you to get to all the other banks. It's called the IIF, the Institute of International Finance.

And I worked through them to build something called the Open Digital Trust Initiative. And that's what kicked off this whole identity journey.

Steve Craig: Wow, that's a really interesting story. And to think like how banks often are looking at their customer sets, how they then collaborate with others is in, in this frenemy scenario.

Right. It's coopetition. When you were looking at the markets, Spain, UK, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Poland, all the different countries you were interacting in, what were some of the universal challenges of trying to support those and they each have different regulations and different customer sets.

What were you trying to solve for across those main regions?

Rod Boothby: Each of them has different challenges around trying to make sure that customers have safe journeys, trying to take it from, you know, eight nines up to nine nines of protection and reducing any loss rates that the bank does have.

They're very focused around those. But the bigger challenge that financial institutions have is how do they become more valuable to their customers? Where a small, tiny improvement over something that is already almost perfect, could help figuring out how to help their customers with a much bigger problem everywhere else in their lives became more important and more obvious. And that's the common problem that we have everywhere. There is still fraud all over the place. 3% of digital transactions according to Visa are fraudulent. We face this lack of trust everywhere. It's all the tickets get sold to bots.

For Taylor Swift concert. It’s never knowing if you can trust the restaurant reviews because maybe they were fake or the product reviews or not knowing if the person who's supporting your political ideas and encouraging you to be even more strident is actually a real person who really lives in your country, or whether that's a bot or some nefarious organization.

And maybe you should be going the other way and actually tampering it down, or being more curious about other people's takes. We see this everywhere, and it's it's the underpinning to everything in our society. Our modern society is based on trust. It's the most valuable resource we have.

Capital market, free market economies depend on trust. You trust people to deliver goods. You trust them to make them well, to have the right contents. And anything that you ingest, trust the government to act in a decent way to adhere to laws and to function as a democracy and we trust science and the data that goes in, in all of those three key areas.

Our modern society wouldn't exist if we didn't have trust. What's happening online is that it's slowly getting undermined by weaponized anonymity. What the banks have is an ability to add a new type of service to their customers, and this new type of service is one where they deliver. Simple trust and it starts first with their customers, the bank saying, this is Steve on this session. Okay, now I know you're a real person. Let me listen to you, let me learn from you.

Steve Craig: The project you described at Santander reminds me of projects I've seen in the US. I think it was Early Warning Systems that is owned by several of the big banks, had initiatives. And then Canada with SecureKey, several of the big banks there.

There's a lot of regulation that's coming in the world around e digital identity standards. Canada has frameworks, Australia has frameworks. And then when I speak with experts like yourself, they all point to this concept of like decentralizing identity, getting to a point where we are controllers of our own destiny through self-sovereign identity concepts.

Where does IDPartner fit into this ecosystem? And certainly there's a financial institution aspect to it, but where do you see your company playing in helping to solve some of these problems that still haven't emerged as of mass adoption? I guess.

Rod Boothby: The first insight for self-sovereign identity is that identity is property.And if you take it one step earlier, you start as a unique individual. As a unique individual. You, you need to be recognized in the world. The first way that that comes to you usually is through the society that you're in and through an official document or some kind of an official KYC record.

Sometimes it's a citizen's card or a birth certificate or a driver's license. They almost always include technology to help recognize you in the physical world. A picture. So when you present it to a human, as long as the document isn't faked, and as long as it looks like the document does represent that official organization, we can look at you and say, oh, okay, this is really you.

And then we can look at the KYC credentials, the basic know your customer credentials, name, address, date of birth, something like that, and say, okay, this is the right person… that doesn't exist online. How do we replicate some of it? What we have to do is to couple the pieces, refactor that combination in a way that actually works in the digital space.

We can combine the issuance of the credential with the facts in the credential, but the recognizing is difficult, and what I argue is that people ought to be able to control how they're recognized online. And that the best way to do that is to allow them to pick a trusted third party that will stand up and say, yes.

The person on this session is who they claim to be. They're the rightful owner or controller of, or holder, depending on the terminology you want of that KYC credential. They're also the rightful owner of all of the other credentials they have associated with themselves. So you now have somebody who is, I know that this is really Steve on this session.

I know that he's got in a government issued credential from, the US government and there's 14 other credentials, clubs, degrees, patient records, whatever. And you are in full control of them, and you get to share them. In that way, if you end up with a bunch of these entities that, that are acting as trusted third parties.

The challenge becomes how do you distribute that? And there've been different ways to propose how to deliver that. There's ones that are wholly decentralized and then there's models that use a trust network or a federation operator. And that's what IDPartner is we operate a trust federation.

We verify each entity that comes in and we give them a pattern of being able to communicate with each other. We are only a broker, so we basically introduce counterparties in real time. Then we get out of the picture. So it is your bank talking to that business or relying party directly. We never see the data that goes back and forth.

A lot of other companies have tried to be an intermediary and we feel that that's, not in the interest of privacy. It's also just not a sensible business decision. You take on too much risk and you actually end up being incented to compete against these trusted entities that can authenticate the person.

And actually the person chose them, so just empower them rather than getting in their way.

Steve Craig: So IDPartner not doing any verifications itself. It’s relying on the financial institutions to have done those document checks or non-document checks and to have the identity. They're vouching for the identity.

And then you're providing that, that conduit, the network for the consumers to access that and to share that is that

Rod Boothby: That's, that's right. We do, we do verify the entities that come into our system and we leverage a whole bunch of things to help do that, including, GLEIF and the LEI or the legal entity Identifier system.

And we plan to, as it rolls out, use their VLEI system too. We think that's very compelling. There, there are a lot of financial institutions that help to issue those, including some of the biggest banks in the world. Um, Bloomberg issues them, JP Morgan issues them. And what it means is that you have a, a big trading entity such as a hotel chain or a shipping company that has been verified and gone through a normal, know your business background check by the financial institution, but we repeat all of that and then we, we help these entities to exchange this identity data. Strangely, we talk about identity, but actually what we are really in the business of is just facilitating secure communication between entities about an identity.

Steve Craig: That makes a lot of sense. We're not set up for demos in the podcast, but I'm curious if you could describe from an end-user perspective what their experience is when they encounter your product or the, as an option to verify themselves. How exactly does it work for the consumer?

Rod Boothby: I'll tell you about gen one. The first time you come in, you'll see a button that says, continue with your bank-based ID. You click that button and there's a selector. There's a few banks listed and a search bar. Today we're connected to 2,900 financial institutions in the US and the UK. And so you could type in Wells Fargo or BofA or JP Morgan Chase, or just about any small business bank in the US or small credit union in the US.

If your institution comes up, you log directly into your institution. We it's open ID, so we run a popup and then you are in. Direct access to your financial institution. You go through a process of approving this this movement of information. It is a one-time pass. We're not connecting systems together.

It is only a single one-time pass. The technology underneath it is Open ID, it's an open standard. And in the JWT or the Jot, what's being sent back in that, that session token is extra information that's been described in the request object and that extra information is things like name, address, phone number, date of birth.

It can include payment instructions. And it will include things, not now, but later on that, allow you to, to show that you're a customer in good standing with the financial institution. We have some really important aspects of this. The first one is our magic button. The next time you come to the system, anywhere that our stuff is deployed, it will probably be able to recognize you. It's about four, three to four nines. And what will end up appearing is the button of your financial institution. You won't have to go through the selection process anymore, so you'll recognize, say you work with Wells Fargo, you'll see, oh, okay, yep there's Wells. I press the button and you get logged into Wells and it goes back and it's quick and it's easy and. We've done that deliberately because we think that the important thing for the end-user is to maintain that trust relationship with their financial institution. We want to facilitate it. We don't want to get in the way of it.

The alternative is other people have been in this space, have tried to throw up their own wallet with their own brands, and we're not into doing that. We're just facilitating. So that's a gen one and you can try it out if you like. You can go, for example, you can have an experience of proving your identity on Twitter.

You can go to notabot.idpartner.com. It's a three-step process. You'll log into Twitter, you'll verify your ID with your bank, and then we'll create a tweet saying the person who controls this Twitter handle is: your name. And if you choose, you can then publish that Tweet. It'll be published on Not a Bot in an independent place.

And that proves that you are who you claim to be. It's only supposed to illustrate the thing. There are other ways that but it, it does work and it works solidly what we, that's the first version, the longer term version, gen two. Once banks install our trust platform, when you click the button, a message will show up on your phone.

It's your banking app, and your bank will be able to tell you, uh, say for example you were logging into, um, a home swap site. So you go to Home swap, you see the magic button, um, it's your bank's name, you click it, you get a message on your phone from your bank app. It's out of band. It's safe. It's on a trusted device and a trusted application.

You'd log in, the bank runs all of its strong authentication. It's based off of your face. For most of them, it's incr. Incredibly quick. And then the first thing the bank does is it tells you, you were on home swap. Do you want to share your data? We provide the bank with a trust package to help them to discern the identity of the counterparty.

If you don't expect to be on that site, you can stop it, uh, report it, and, uh, we will make sure that other banks in the financial system are aware of the behavior of this relying party. Um, but if it's the happy path, you say yes. And you go, so to repeat it, you see the magic button, you press it, you get a notification on your phone, it says you're where you expect to be.

Do you want to share this information? Yes. And you're in. It's very fast. And that's like bank ID in the Nordics. Now that's like what Sweden has and Norway has, and the usage data there is crazy. Sweden, apparently people use it on average 800 times a year. It's a lot of identity assertions individually there.

Yeah. But we're doing it many, many times a day. Right. And so it's not just signing up for a site. It's resetting passwords. They use it for login there. I don't know that bank-based ID globally will get to be used for login, but I do. If passkey ever really become a thing, bank-based idea is a great way to manage the Passkey Reset challenge.

Steve Craig: Well, it reminds me of the TurboTax experience where you want to import information from your financial institution, and there's a step where you authenticate and then information can be downloaded. One of the challenges that I face, each year when I do that is you often set a multifactor or does device recognition.

Are you able to handle some of those scenarios where you've got the authenticator app and you have to put in a code and being able to facilitate that?

Rod Boothby: So that all works today in gen one and in gen two because the bank is sending a message to the bank app on your phone. It's actually all built in. So it creates all that out of band security and takes it even one step further in a way that is so fast and easy.

You click the button, you get a buzz on your phone, you hit yes on the application. The bank already knows that it's the right application. They've already got a secure enclave, a shared secret. They know that they're on the right device, that they have already checked during the authentication. This is the right network, right location, right.

Passive biometrics. Thank you, Lex Friedman. And now we're in and ready to roll.

Steve Craig: Yeah. much, much better experience than repeatedly verifying yourself. The same questions over and over again, the same presentation of documents and verifying. That's the status quo of digital identity today in IDV. For a lot of the market, it's generally transactional SaaS pay per use.

Companies are now used to, when they do these verifications or account recoveries, there's a pretty clear model around that. Without getting in into too much of your secret sauce, I think business models are always tough to figure out and reusability because it's one, maybe one bank has initially done that verification and they've perhaps done those transactional events to verify this person and now that can be reused.

How do you create incentives for the various parties? Like who ultimately pays, how do you make money at IDPartner?

Rod Boothby: We have a multi-tier pricing model. It's pretty simple. If the person is doing KYC at the beginning that's one price.

If it's just, this is a real human, here's a UUID and an email address, but we're not going give you KYC, that's a lower price. We do have some partners that have asked for a different type of model where they basically get an all you can eat over the course of the year and we're taking the risk of guessing what that's going to be and we'll eat the cost if we're wrong.

But for the financial institutions, we actually pay by the API call. And we'll hope to wrap that up so that people don't have to take the risk. For the banks, the long-term opportunities though, are much bigger. They know that if they power login, then they can help power checkout and so they can give the merchants a better deal around payment rails because they've already verified the customer.

Second, the banks know that if they participate in supporting login, they will get behavioral data that will help them to stop fraud at checkout. And through both of these, they know that what they're going to start to do is to create a service that becomes indispensable for the person. They just like you use your authenticator app on a regular basis.

You are now using your bank service. And it's easier, simpler than an Authenticator app, it's more powerful, and they can deliver key additional services. On top of that, the most important is risk transfer. The key thing that we're trying to build is an infrastructure to support the delivery of insurance.

So say for example, I'm about to buy a house from you. At time of purchase, I actually know someone who got phished and tricked into wiring 500,000 to the wrong escrow company. The money disappeared. The FBI got involved, but they eventually got most of it back, but it took six months and they certainly lost the house they were bidding on.

It wasn't cool. Very, very upsetting and stressful time for him and his family. People shouldn't have to be worried about this. Instead, in the case of me buying the house from you, maybe your bank or the escrow company's bank can guarantee for me that that's the right place to wire the money and sell me some insurance just like my AIG insurance where they come in and they say, okay, we'll guarantee you on this specific transaction.

And for medium small businesses and individuals, this means they no longer have to be identity experts and they don't have to understand the risk. They can simply transfer it by buying the insurance. And that also helps us to level the playing field between financial institutions. If one financial institution is very good at authenticating their users, their insurance fees are going to be low.

Another one that maybe isn't so good, the reinsurance will be more expensive and their insurance rates will be higher. People will have incentive to move to the shops that do a good job or banks will have more incentive to invest heavily in the authentication capacity

Steve Craig: In those modes, are there liability caps, are there limits to that or like, what does the guarantee generally mean for someone who's interested in that?

Rod Boothby: They're specific to a transaction. So I'm buying the house from you for say, a million dollars. I am buying, I would like to send money to this escrow account that's the right escrow account to buy a house from Steve on this specific transaction, and it's $4 million and the bank comes back and quotes me just like the travel insurance.

Here's a $15 fee. We'll guarantee it's the right guy. And what we're trying to do at IDPartner, is to create the metadata that's needed to price that adequately.

Steve Craig: That's a big gap in today's current world of how we prove identity, because the companies that provide those services, whether they be document checks or perhaps fraud signal evaluations, there's limited indemnity and liability that they're taking on there, it's a service that's provided, but not necessarily a guarantee. So the scrutiny still falls on that customer who's using those tools to, to make sure they've got the right person before they wire that 500k or before they do something like issuing even a small credit card line.

So that's an interesting approach to it. Now, I know you're in startup mode and every day is a new challenge and you have many different paths. You mentioned gen one, gen two. What is the next, just like what's right in front of us the next six months or maybe you're thinking in a year horizon?

What does that look like For IDPartner?

Rod Boothby: Well, it's been interesting. Some of the demand, is not at all what we expected. There’s lots of things for contract signature. People are interested in that big transaction confirmation. They're interested in that access to certain secure environments people are interested in.

Employee onboarding, for example, is a big space, where people would like to do it. One of our earliest partners is a company called Avvanz. Their story is interesting. They're from Singapore, and they started a very capable background check service. It's sort of analogous to, but, but broader than Checkr.

They recognized that if they weren't certain about who the person was at the beginning of the process, they had a sort of a garbage in, garbage out problem. So what they used in Singapore was Singpass, which is a trust network. It's delivered by the government. But it works exactly the same way as our stuff is supposed to work.

And what they did was they went looking for other opportunities to deliver this globally, and they needed that starting point. So they found various providers in various places and then they found us and we helped them with many locations with this bank-based verification. So that, that was a great start.

The other parts where people have been interested are ones that I just completely didn't expect when we started this journey. And they include like, human only presales for shoe drops. I didn't know that the sneaker heads were going drive identity, but that's a thing. I think why not?

I mean, people get really upset and rightly so, when they line up for something, they're a big fan of a product, and suddenly they're beaten to the punch by bots who then gouge them.

Steve Craig: When you talked about the, the Taylor Swift fiasco, that's happened in recent time, and anything that's in limited supply, whether it be concerts or sneakers, for myself, it took two years to buy a PlayStation 5.

I kept going to the site and they would release on Best Buy and they'd all be gone. And then guess what? eBay had plenty of them for sale for 2000 bucks. But yeah, I wasn't going do that. So there's certainly an aspect of, is it a real human? Combating the bots, and then that shifts into is it really that person who they claim to be?

So that's, that's great. I think there's continued use cases around that. I, I think the, the path you're on is, is great and being able to look at the banks, I've always thought of the banks as a great place where you could maybe store documents. We look at them to store safety deposit boxes and things like that.

Like there should be more around not just identity, but. Trust documents and financial paperwork that's right. We all have maybe on Google Drive instead of, you know, within a secure, well, super secure environment that a bank offers.

Rod Boothby: Yeah, absolutely.

Steve Craig: Very, very good. Very good. Now we're, we're coming up on time. Rod and one of the things I like to do in this series is I like to share more about the person behind the LinkedIn profile more, the founder behind the press. We've talked a lot about your career and what you're doing at IDPartner. As I was going through looking at your background, I see that you're an avid painter. Can you share more about the artistic side? We talked about tech, like what are you painting, what are the mediums?

Rod Boothby: I paint in oil. I sort of do a bad rip off of Monet meets van Gogh. And that all came about from one of my early startups. I had just met my wife. We weren't engaged yet and I tried a startup in 2001, bad timing.

And I needed money for a Christmas gift, and I realized it didn't have enough. So I thought, well, maybe I could paint a picture of the first place we shared together, and I don't know what convinced me to do that. I'd never painted before, but it worked out quite well. And so I've been painting in oils ever since.

And that led me to when I don't have time to paint, photography. And so I have a ridiculous number of posts on my in Instagram site, and it's really just whatever focuses or catches my eye during the day. Well, I find that very meditative. It forces me. It's kind of like a gratitude practice.

If every day you force yourself to take a beautiful photo of something, a flower, and anything that you can find, and you'll see mine is a mixed match of where I travel cool cars and. Landscapes and flowers, like it's insanely pedestrian, but at least for me, it's a thing of, wow, that was something beautiful I saw that day.

Steve Craig: That's amazing. I can't draw or paint, so I, I admire that. And then to be able to take away from the technology side, shift your brain as something more artistic and to create and just, I can imagine, uh, how much more relaxing that might be. Staring at API docs and transactions,

Rod Boothby: It's all creating in the same way, I think, but who knows?

Steve Craig: Absolutely. Well, we're out of time. To close out for anyone that's watching or listening or any of the subscribers of this podcast, how would you like the market to engage with you and IDPartner? What type of conversations are you looking for? And I can link to the, the page, the resources here.

Rod Boothby: Thank you. We’re a network play. We're very interested in partners. If you're interested in verifying your customers or the participants in your online community want to deliver trust and safety or reduce fraud, please come to IDpartner.com. We will love to engage and show you how quick and easy it is.

Steve Craig: Excellent. Well, thank you so much, Rod, for taking the time to speak with me and making the time to be on the podcast. I look forward to seeing the tremendous progress you make in the road ahead and thanks again. Have a good rest of your day!

Rod Boothby: Thanks a lot. See you.

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Steve Craig, Founder & CEO