Bryan Hobbs Uses Blockchain To Disrupt Identity Management With His ‘LinkedIn-Killer’ Startup, Cyber Clipboard
The job application process is painful for candidates and human resources professionals, and expensive for companies. The overall cost of screening, interviewing and hiring increased by 26 percent between 2015 and 2017, causing many companies to review their hiring processes, according to Gartner.
Bryan Hobbs was inspired to address this issue in 2017 while helping his wife complete employment forms for a school district. “I thought it was an inefficient process, and so I developed a platform where we can automate it,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs is the founder and CEO of Cyber Clipboard, an Atlanta-based company that has been dubbed the “LinkedIn-Killer.” It’s is an identity management and credential-verification company that makes it easy for gig workers to transfer their background screening credentials between companies. Employers can also use the Cyber Clipboard platform to locate employees.
Since launching, Hobbs has successfully completed Atlanta’s Comcast NBCUniversal The Farm and the Ascend 2020 programs. He has launched pilots and is working on an agreement with a prominent college. Hobbs and his co-founder and chief operating officer Mark Peterson are said to be building the “LinkedIn Killer.”
Cyber Clipboard is setting out to make it more efficient for people and organizations to establish trusted relationships through shared, verified credentials. Unlike LinkedIn, Cyber Clipboard helps to verify candidates’ backgrounds, provide them the ability to apply for jobs, allows job candidates to be in control of shared information and protects information using the blockchain, Hobbs said.
Hobbs spoke with Moguldom about the challenges of having a remote development team, leveraging blockchain and being the possible “LinkedIn Killer.”
Moguldom: Why did you start Cyber Clipboard?
Bryan Hobbs: The idea of Cyber Clipboard came from helping my wife complete previous employment forms for a school district because she’s a teacher. In education, they have to have their previous work histories verified, and this is done manually. I thought it was an inefficient process, so I developed a platform where we can automate it. We realized there were a lot of the same individuals doing work history verification who also typically worked gig jobs. These same educators typically work other jobs such as Uber, Lyft, or one-off contract-type or freelance jobs. And typically, their availability is limited. We’ve decided to help them with getting jobs by relaying their availability to employers, as well as providing their certified or verified personal identifiable information. This is how Cyber Clipboard was developed.
Moguldom: Were you are helping those that are looking for work, as well as those who are looking to hire?
Bryan Hobbs: Yes. We are a two-sided marketplace.
Moguldom: When someone is looking for a job, what do they get from your platform?
Bryan Hobbs: When someone signs up looking for a job, what we typically do first is to identify them. We make sure they are a real person by getting some form of identification. From there, they are given a level on our platform from zero to a five, and this is essentially everything from your background check to drug history to credit check. Employers on our platform essentially have a level set to where they want their employees to be. Our users have the ability to upgrade, or the employer has the ability to upgrade that user as well. The users have complete control using our platform of their data, and complete control of the skill set that they want to put into the system. The more skill sets they put in the system, the more we can verify they have that skill set or that credential, they’ll be able to be instantly hired by one of our employers.
Moguldom: The Cyber Clipboard site advertises the use of blockchain. How are you leveraging blockchain?
Bryan Hobbs: The blockchain piece of our application essentially is how we lock down the data. Most people have seen all of the data breaches that have taken place across industries and organizations — FedEx, Facebook, you name it. Most of these companies have had some form of data breach or data security issue. We elected to use blockchain, particularly the distributed ledger technology, to lock information in, making it pretty difficult to get into the systems and expose data because every block has to be removed and every block has to be verified and certified to be edited.
It would take a government organization to break into one of these systems. So that’s why we’re using blockchain — to ensure our users their data is secure, as well as give them control over their data. We don’t have any control over their data once it goes into the blockchain.
Moguldom: What is the C-B-R Number assigned to users?
Bryan Hobbs: The C-B-R Number is a unique identifier. It is similar to your social security number. It is an unchangeable identifier. This number is utilized by our users on the platform to allow employers, banks, loan officers, anybody who needs to see any of your personal data as a user. You give them that number and they enter it into our system where a request is made to that user and that user understands why that request is being made. They can approve or deny that request as they see fit. They also can limit what those companies can see within their profile and what can be downloaded. So the C-B-R Number is basically a unique identifier similar to a social security number or DUNS number that stays with that user for life.
Moguldom: HR professionals say they are seeing more people applying for jobs, doing online interviews, and then when it’s time to show up on the first day, it’s a completely different person. Do you see Cyber Clipboard preventing this from happening?
Bryan Hobbs: Yes. Our solution would eliminate that completely because essentially, we identify who you are, and we make sure you are actually that person. Our app is going to make sure that you are that individual that shows up on day one. We actually eliminated that problem completely.
Moguldom: Are you the sole founder?
Bryan Hobbs: I have a co-founder named Mark Peterson. He’s our chief operating officer, and he comes from the biometric world. He worked for companies like First Advantage, a global background screening company. In his past, he’s worked with Accenture, a couple of other large organizations, like Equifax as well. He founded, built, and sold his own company which was a biometric fingerprint company.
Moguldom: What have been some of the challenges since launching Cyber Clipboard?
Bryan Hobbs: One challenge has been in development. As a startup, you don’t really have the funding necessary to push things forward as fast as you would like. We had issues with development previously because the teams we use are overseas. There are communication issues as well as not having the team here to touch in-person. It makes it very difficult. We had issues with launching our beta version of our product, leaving timeframes to be pushed back. What we’ve done is brought on a temporary chief technical officer. Communication is key when you’re talking about developing a platform such as we have and making sure that it is operating correctly.
Moguldom: Have you raised any money thus far?
Bryan Hobbs: We raised capital from participating with Comcast NBCUniversal and The Farm’s Boomtown. It’s been tremendous what they’ve provided to us. Besides the capital, the mentors and the other perks they give us have been great. But that is the only capital we’ve raised so far, which is under $100,000.
Moguldom: What is a notable win you have had for Cyber Clipboard?
Bryan Hobbs: A notable win that just came up is we’re working on an agreement with a prominent college for a pilot on our platform. It’s a new revenue stream for us but it plays to what we’re doing on the platform with matching candidates to jobs. Our other pilots were with rideshare organizations. We’ve gained some big contracts that will definitely ramp up our user base pretty quickly. MoovMo out of Birmingham is one of the organizations on our platform. They’ve had some big wins which translate to big wins for us as well.
Moguldom: What do the next five years look like for Cyber Clipboard?
Bryan Hobbs: The next five years look pretty exciting. I’ll say we definitely plan on scaling pretty quickly. We anticipate that we’ll have a million-plus users and 10-plus companies using our community within the next two years, if not sooner. We have the ambition to be a global company. If you think about what we’re doing, the data we’re holding for an individual is more valuable than money. We’re anticipating growing into a global organization that everybody comes to when they want to make sure an individual is who they say they are and be a platform for users who want to showcase who they are and increase their skill sets and increase their personal stock. That’s where we see ourselves in the next five years — being the go-to for pretty much any organization out there.
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Moguldom: I’ve read online your product is being dubbed the “LinkedIn Killer.” Is this where the term the LinkedIn killer comes in?
Bryan Hobbs: Yes. I’ll say this, we do literally everything LinkedIn does, but we’re LinkedIn on steroids. At the end of the day, LinkedIn doesn’t verify anything. Nor does LinkedIn do the matching we do with our algorithms, nor do they store the data securely as we do. When you think about it, we do everything LinkedIn does, and we give the users control. We’re verifying everything for companies and users so, nothing’s there that’s not true. LinkedIn’s not using the platforms we’re using or the technologies we’re using. In a sense, I think LinkedIn’s going to die off or they’re going to have to join us.
Moguldom: Does that mean you would be open to an exit and being acquired by LinkedIn in the future?
Bryan Hobbs: I will say this, all options are on the table. Exiting is something we would consider in the future. I think back and look at how Facebook came about and how they didn’t exit. They just kept growing and growing. So that’s an option too depending on how big we are and how quickly we grow.