Inflection Raises $30 Million To Take On The Public Records IndustrySeptember 01, 2010
by Leena Rao
Inflection, a company aimed to democratizing the public records system on the web, has raised $30 million in Series A financing led by Matrix Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures.
Founded in 2006, Inflection aggregates public records and data from past and present and currently operates Archives.com, a site that sources historical records made available on the web. Archives is meant to allow people to access birth, death, marriage, divorce, and other historical vital records to get information about deceased members of their families. Currently the site has more than 2 million members conducting searches and sees 3 million unique visitors per month.
Inflection is also getting into current public record search for people today with the launch of PeopleSmart, a people search engine that mashes up data from public contact information, public records, and social profiles. The site currently features more than 250 million social profiles, 500 million public records, and contact information for a large percentage of U.S. households.
The site offers a email plugin that can be installed directly into your Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail inbox so that users can view the sender’s social profiles and photos with every email. The people data listing business is surrounded with privacy concerns but PeopleSmart also allows users to manage their listings online, submit corrections and remove information they don’t want shown.
And for records which have not yet been digitized, PeopleSmart offers a service that will actually send someone into the actual court archives to retrieve and return the records. This process takes 38 hours on average and is available in 47 states. As a privacy protection, PeopleSmart.com makes email listings private and relays messages on behalf of its users. Recipients can choose whether they want to reply back to the sender or not hear from them again. Monthly memberships to use the service range from $3 to $8 per month.
PeopleSmart is trying to add legitimacy to a market that has been known to attract controversy. Competitor Intellius was recently hit with fine injunctions by the Washington state attorney general over post-transaction marketing scams. Even Salesforce-bought Jigsaw has come under fire for its data practices. PeopleSmart’s founders, brothers Brian and Matthew Monahan, say that their site is centered on choice, and allows people to choose what information is available about them.
The Monahan brothers add that every dataset the company acquires about individuals goes through extensive diligence across five dimensions, including accuracy, recency, percentage of coverage, depth and clarity. Data is also passed through a series of quality checks, which includes privacy checks related to information about minors, opted out individuals, or other sensitive data.
The company plans to use the funds to expand its team, invest in technology, and acquire customers for its web properties.