Trustify is the first technology platform to connect clients across the United States to the only nationwide network of highly trained, vetted private investigators. We provide affordable, confidential, on-demand access to experienced professionals – without the typical large retainer charged by most traditional private investigation agencies.
Our technology provides transparency during the investigation, powering a direct connection between client and investigator. The result of this real-time communication? Cases are solved quickly, efficiently, and much more affordably.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to launch your business?
Jennifer Mellon: My co-founder Danny Boice and my personal experiences combined with a front row seat to foundational shifts in technology, geopolitics, data theft and divorce rates in the 2010’s. For example, we observed it becoming not only acceptable but commonplace for consumers to start using the Internet and apps to facilitate real-world meetings. Whether it be Uber, Tinder, TaskRabbit or Care.com – this was previously off-limits and slowly became ubiquitous. All of the above represent a foundational shift in trust and safety risk globally.
This all hit so close to our hearts that we decided very early on that our next company needed to positively contribute to solving this increasing trust and safety risk throughout the World.
Danny had a previous experience using a private investigator and knew that PIs were predominantly former police officers, military intelligence or 3-letter agency veterans. They were both highly talented and trustworthy. On the downside, we realized through research that PIs are underutilized and underpaid. Further, the business models of most detective agencies are such that only 1%’er consumers and businesses can afford to use them.
A year of testing and research convinced us that Trustify was the mountain we were willing to die upon.
We launched Trustify in 2015 as a way to deliver trust & safety to every consumer and business via a global network of licensed private investigators, armed with better data, and available on-demand.
BusinessInterviews.com: What issue does your core product help solve and how so?
Jennifer Mellon: The private investigator industry is an antiquated, fragmented industry that was ripe for a land-grab. There is zero technology in the space, no leader in the industry and no nationwide network of licensed private investigators before Trustify. Private investigator services were traditionally utilized by white male, one-percenters who could afford the large upfront retainer of thousands of dollars to complete a case. We have brought the only nationwide network of licensed PIs to the masses. We have democratized a very old industry by adding technology to match clients and businesses with a highly-vetted, licensed private investigator on-demand without the large retainer. 80% of our consumers have never used a PI and the majority of our cases are not traditional use cases. We are proud of the work we have done to change the face of a space that suffered from a large amount of brand debt.
BusinessInterviews.com: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?
Jennifer Mellon: Early on it was facing the brand debt and social deviance factor associated with the private investigator industry. Our private investigators do incredible, valuable, good work for our clients and we have worked hard to make their services something everyone can use. Whether you are vetting a nanny, inviting a handyman into your home, locating a birth parent, high school sweetheart, vetting an investment or business partner, everyone has a need.
BusinessInterviews.com: Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact.
Jennifer Mellon: My first boss told me to always work with diligence and excellence and I will achieve a great deal in life. Her words are regularly repeated in advice to my own team. I was the youngest Executive Director in the 40-year history of Joint Council on International Children’s Services and went on to build three successful businesses due to her advice.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?
Jennifer Mellon: Every time I have started a new company, it was the biggest risk I have ever taken. Trustify is my third startup and each have had their inherent risks. We founded it when I was 8 months pregnant with four kids at home, we were less than a year married, blending our family, building a home and bootstrapping the venture. As I regularly share with those desiring to be an entrepreneur – there is never the “right” time. Building a company is a leap of faith. Success is derived from your ability to grow that faith into something that you believe must succeed. When failure is not an option, you will thrive.