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ID Startup Be Heard Raises $2M, Refocuses Beyond Gov Tech

Be Heard started out making tools to verify constituents who wanted to talk to elected officials, then released a mobile app to store identity verification information. Now, it's moving past the public sector.

by / June 18, 2020

Be Heard, the company that started out with a focus on making it easier for constituents to get through to elected officials, has raised $2 million in investment money — and is pivoting to a corporate vision less focused on government.

The startup, founded in 2017 by brothers who were both students at Stanford University, started out as ePluribus and its first project was creating a Web browser extension to send Facebook posts directly to a person’s local, state and federal representatives. One of the driving ideas was always to verify users in such a way that the recipients of those kinds of messages — elected officials — would have more confidence that they were coming from their constituents.

Since then the company has raised money, rebranded and launched a new product. That product, Unum ID, is meant to add more verification layers via mobile phones and store the information locally on a person’s device, using blockchain to distribute public keys for that verification information.

At the time, the company’s founders told Government Technology that the company still had a focus on the public sector, including possibly helping agencies deliver municipal IDs to residents. But as Be Heard announced its latest seed fundraising round, it made no mention of government and instead emphasized corporations as its target customers.

“Over the past couple of months we've expanded past securing our democracy against bots and meddling; we’re now leveraging the same identity tech to protect customers of financial services from behavioral fraud,” wrote spokesperson Bradley Hinson in an email. “The grand vision for our company is to bring this to as many verticals as possible, such as healthcare, the sharing economy, (et cetera).”

The $2 million seed round was led by Draper Associates and included Tappan Hill Ventures, Wedbush Ventures, Hard Yaka and angel investors. The company had previously raised $10,000 through crowdfunding and wrapped up an $865,000 round with angel investors in 2018.

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