Credentialock Wants to Conquer the Global Verification Market

5/10/12Follow @XconomyDET

My mom keeps my college diploma in a frame on the wall of her home office, but the last time I saw my college transcripts, two apartments ago, they were sitting in a moving box along with a decade’s worth of tax returns. Luckily, in the journalism profession, one doesn’t generally need to keep track of licenses and other credentials—but if I did, using Royal Oak, MI-based startup Credentialock‘s cloud-based service would definitely beat a forgotten moving box or desk drawer.

Credentialock is a Web application that allows individuals and businesses to create digital vaults containing copies of their business and educational credentials such as licenses, diplomas, certifications, and awards. Users can upload their documents by snapping a picture or scanning the documents into PDF or JPG files. Each user then gets a unique link to share on places like LinkedIn, as well as a QR code for use on business cards, connected to the resulting “credendum.” Credentialock also allows users to set reminders for the renewal date of certifications and classes.

“My wife is in the insurance industry and she has over 100 documents of certification from 20 different states to keep track of, so we always use her as the benchmark,” says Credentialock CEO Scott Slyfield. “Instead of having our employers keep track of this stuff, we need to be able to own and manage it ourselves. It’s really empowering.”

Slyfield says the company plans to offer free vaults to students and individuals and upgraded vaults with a tiered fee system to businesses like hospitals, which need to keep hundreds of employee licenses and certifications on file. The free, Web-based version, which allows users to archive and share their credentials, launched last week. Slyfield says Credentialock is currently working on a mobile app; the Android version should be out by early fall.

In addition to curating and archiving, Slyfield says Credentialock will seek to further monetize its service in the future by offering verification. It recently met with a company called Educatrium—co-founded by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business Entrepreneur of the Year Cheng Chen and based in Ann Arbor, MI, and Nanjing, China—that it plans to partner with. Educatrium offers tutoring, consulting, and research to Chinese students who want to attend a university in the United States.

Slyfield says that when Chen was going through the essays students submitted as part of their college applications, he found himself reading the same essays over and over. He realized the potential for fraud and plagiarism was high and that the market for some kind of international verification service was wide open. Slyfield says he knows of a company in China that verifies the individual identities of international students, but not one that verifies their credentials. As wealthy Chinese families send more kids abroad for study, he imagines credential verification will be a lucrative tool American universities will also be interested in, and he sees the lack of current players in the market as a big opportunity.

Slyfield, who built his previous company, Assurion, into $140 million business before selling it a few years ago, says Credentialock’s “pie in the sky” mission is to help set the standard in global credential verification, but the first task is completing the second iteration of the software and cleaning up its user interface. “We want to first be a tool for curation,” he adds. “Credentialing is a huge, growing market right now.”

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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