In a Nutshell: SpringRole is a blockchain-based professional networking platform that verifies all of the information posted by its users. The platform makes recruiting and job-seeking more transparent and trustworthy by checking educational, employment, and other data. And many firms rely on the company’s SpringVerify background check service, which leverages a three-level protocol that systematically verifies credentials, whether online or offline. This service is particularly applicable in the fintech industry where compliance is crucial.
The growth and potential of professional networking platforms became clear when tech giant Microsoft paid more than $26 billion to acquire LinkedIn in 2016. These platforms bring in millions of new users each year, but most lack a key element that should be the foundation of any social network — trust.
Employment and other background information users post on these networks is usually as accurate as they say it is. Without verification, less-than-honest users on networking platforms could claim to have worked at the Krusty Krab — a fictional restaurant made famous by the Nickelodeon cartoon Spongebob Squarepants.
That is the widespread problem that SpringRole set out to solve by creating a unique, trust-based professional networking platform. For starters, the entire network exists on the blockchain, which makes it more secure and easier to integrate. But most importantly, SpringRole verifies all information posted on its platform, meaning companies won’t have any Krusty Krab employees sending them private messages and applying for jobs.
“The idea is to verify each line item that goes onto the SpringRole platform and put that item onto the blockchain,” said Kartik Mandaville, CEO of SpringRole.
In many ways, SpringRole was born from necessity. In 2015, LinkedIn restricted developer access to its API. That move stalled many projects under development, including an early version of SpringRole.
“When that happened, LinkedIn made it really expensive to access the API,” Mandaville said. “So, much like other companies that were using the API, our projects on that platform were shut down.”
Soon after, Science Inc. stepped in to provide funding for the SpringRole initiative.
“Science, Inc. enabled us to become the equivalent of LinkedIn on the blockchain,” Mandaville said. “It works because the things posted on most platforms today aren’t verified. You can write anything you want — that you’re the CEO of Google — and it’ll appear on your profile.”
Through its own proprietary services, SpringRole works to verify any details posted on a profile — from educational and work history to background data. When a piece of data becomes verified, a green checkmark appears next to it on a user’s profile.
“With existing platforms, there’s no way for you to know if any of the information listed on the profiles is real or if it’s been verified,” Mandaville said. “On SpringRole, every item is verified.”
SpringRole takes exhaustive steps to ensure only accurate information appears in user profiles. And the process has become so precise that outside companies now use it to perform background checks of their own.
The popularity of the service gave birth to a new arm of the company, SpringVerify.
“The initial plan was to work with an established background verification firm,” Mandaville said. “But while we were trying to figure that out, we realized that there were also problems within legacy background verification systems.”
SpringRole encountered problems that were more prevalent in certain regions of the world. As the platform became more popular, Mandaville and his team decided that they needed to solve those issues before moving forward.
“In the U.S., most work and educational experience data is online. But it’s held offline in many other countries,” Mandaville said. “In those cases, it’s not as easy to see if the data is accurate or not. Everything has to be done manually.”
To complete this difficult task, SpringVerify follows a three-level process that checks each line of user-submitted data.
It starts with peer-to-peer verification, through which SpringRole cross-checks work and educational information with users who have verified attendance or employment data with the same organization.
The second level requires more hands-on work for the SpringRole team. When peer-to-peer background checks can’t prove data, the platform goes straight to the source.
“We’re doing the same background verification that any other B2B company would do,” Mandaville said. “That means the checkers call your university to verify your credentials. They will also call your previous employers to confirm that the person worked at the company during the stated time frame.”
SpringRole also works with individual companies to provide a third level of verification. When companies onboard onto the SpringRole platform, they can provide a list of current and past employees, as well as the dates they worked with the company and their job titles.
“Background verification is something that every company does for an incoming candidate,” Mandaville said. “But let’s say you’ve worked for five companies in the past. On SpringRole, whenever you join a new company, you will have job verifications.”
Mandaville said that many fintech companies have been early adopters of the SpringRole platform. The transparency of the data, and trust that comes along with the blockchain, makes it easy for those companies to source workers and navigate the path to compliance.
“The fintech space — especially innovative finance companies — have so many compliance requirements. One of those requirements is to have all employee backgrounds verified,” Mandaville said. “Of the companies that we’ve onboarded in the last two to three months, 60% of them have been fintech companies.”
Verifying background data is a vital task for fintech firms — not only for compliance, but also to cultivate trust with potential customers. Recent research found that more than 15% of global resumés include false information. That is an alarming statistic considering a good background check can separate a great employee from one who can ruin the reputation of a business.
The next task for SpringRole is to expand its user base, which will ensure that recruiters have a deep pool of talent from which to choose. To accomplish that, the company partnered with blockchain leader Matic to scale its services and reach a larger potential audience.
Under the terms of the partnership, SpringRole will build on top of the Matic Network and leverage its solution for off-chain computation, asset security, and Proof-of-Stake validators.
Mandaville said linking the two companies is a giant step toward growing SpringRole’s user database, which he hopes will inspire even more companies to use the platform.
SpringRole began with a mission to make professional networking sites more trustworthy. Along the way, it filled in many potholes created by outside background verification firms.
By adding services, such as SpringVerify, Mandaville created new business opportunities that necessitated branching the company out under a new parent company, SpringWorks.
With the new structure, the SpringWorks umbrella will cover SpringRole, SpringVerify and multiple new ventures that aim to bring every step of the corporate recruiting process onto the blockchain.
“We are in the process of launching several products that will each feed into the SpringRole platform,” Mandaville said.
The new products will include open-source tools to help HR departments and recruiters track applications. They’ll also offer applicants ways to increase their visibility to prospective employers.
The new opportunities will also open the door to additional ways for the company to use its proprietary SpringToken.
“On other platforms, you have to pay a fee to contact someone who is not in your network,” he said. “Or, when you produce content and it gets shared and generates revenue, all of this money goes directly to that company. Our mission behind creating this token is to allow users to monetize the interactions that they initiate.”
For example, when a user sends a message to another user, the sender must pay a fee in SpringTokens. If the recipient accepts the message and responds to it, he or she receives 80% of the fee paid by the sender. The other 20% goes to SpringRole to pay operational costs.
This process requires a large user pool to make it truly profitable for individuals. Mandaville hopes that its partnership with Matic, as well as the addition of new and more innovative services, will do just that.
“Our goal is to create a service that users and companies can trust,” he said. “We feel like we’ve done well with that so far, but there’s a lot more we have planned that will get us closer to that goal.”