Voyint founder Jay Conolly signed his company’s first big contract at the end of 2019 and was excited to grow the company in 2020. While a lot of businesses struggled or shut down after the pandemic hit, the Ashburn-based firm was able to keep moving forward.
Today Voyint has seven employees, revenue of just under $1 million, and a client list comprised of Fortune 100 companies and small businesses for which it provides intelligence-driven background checks and investigative services.
“We do a lot of pre-employment background checks, and turnover is still happening in businesses. New positions are opening up and people are still getting hired, so we have been able to keep providing those services,” Conolly said. “The pandemic put things on hold for a little while, but we continued to transact work for clients on a daily basis.”
Conolly started his career as a U.S. Navy officer, joining the service after 9/11. He spent seven years on active duty, mostly overseas, on work related to anti-terrorism and force protection operations. That experience gave him an awareness of compliance, why policies are created and how they are enacted. After he left the Navy, he put his business degree to work in sales and consulting and then wound up at a defense contractor that provided intelligence services.
“When I started to understand the intelligence role and how analysts in the intelligence community do their work, I began to put together how that work paired with compliance requirements and could actually be a value-add service,” he said.
That realization, coupled with his entrepreneurial spirit, led him to found Voyint to bridge the gap between technology and human analysis. “I wanted to create a company that was built on providing intelligence-based research and analysis tradecraft,” Conolly said.
The bulk of Voyint’s work is new hire pre-employment checks and management and executive background checks to help clients meet compliance requirements. But Voyint also protects businesses from risk by providing legal partner background checks, special credentialing and verification services, and contractor and subcontractor vetting.
“Companies are required by law to conduct background checks on their employees. How much they do varies depending on the level of risk,” Conolly said. There are two types of services. Quick turnaround searches are largely automated and are only as good as what is available in public databases. “Those types of background checks have a place. They are good for very low-level, low-risk background requirements.”
Where those services stop is where Voyint starts, Conolly added. “Our whole premise is human-in-the-loop. We leverage tools to find information, but then we sort through that information and fill in any gaps. A lot of people think that those more in-depth services are done by private investigators and cost a lot of money, but that’s not true. You can get that second-level review for a fraction more than what you’d pay for the instant checks.”
Voyint’s analysts are trained to gather, organize, and assess complex data from millions of local, regional, and international sources. The company uses a combination of resources, including databases, state and county records, and watchlists to verify that what the applicant has provided is accurate and to look for any areas of concern.
“We pair intelligence tradecraft with the latest commercial databases and search tools to creatively research individuals that require more than an instant search,” Conolly said.
For executive-level positions, Voyint may get more involved by examining a candidate’s digital footprint, looking at things that are publicly available but not in public databases. That may include things such as social media activity. For background checks of any level, Voyint gathers the information, removes any inaccuracies – such as information that came up on someone with the same name but is not the candidate – and puts together a short, concise report that allows the company to make an informed decision.
Moving forward, Conolly wants to leverage Voyint’s commercial experience for government and public sector clients. He is actively pursuing opportunities with federal organizations as well as state and local opportunities. He sees many applications for Voyint’s investigative services, such as fraud, waste and abuse.
“There are a lot of compliance requirements for pandemic relief funds,” Conolly said. “For the Department of Veterans Affairs, an investigative requirement is providing medical credentialing verifications for VA and non-VA medical staff.”
While these verifications have different compliance requirements than new hire background checks, the capability to provide enhanced investigative research and analysis are the same. Voyint’s ability to combine technology with subject matter expertise ensures its clients are in good hands.
One of Voyint’s clients is BP Capital Management.
George Renaldi, director of the firm, says Voyint’s work is exceptional. “While competitively priced, we have found Voyint's reports to be more thorough and of a higher quality than other providers,” he added. “They have never missed a deadline and have always conducted their business in a professional and transparent manner.”