Here's how will spend its latest $3.75 million federal grant - DC


Sep. 6, 2016 7:49 am

Here’s how will spend its latest $3.75 million federal grant

The grant comes from the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which has backed in the past. engineer Kenn Miller yukkin' it up.

(Courtesy photo)

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly characterized the nature of's new product. (9/7/16, 12:34 p.m.)

McLean, Va.-based identity verification platform recently won a $3.75 million federal grant to pilot a new program in Maine.

The award was part of a $15 million round of grants from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), a program focused on developing new forms of identity management that has participated in since October 2013.

With the grant, plans to roll out a digital ID that aims to work just like your driver’s license or your passport: a government-certified ID for whenever you need to prove your identity. Like when a veteran needs to access their medical history from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center or a driver has to apply for a background check before driving for Uber. This digital ID is meant to be a lot easier than filling out separate identification forms each time.

“We are passionate about creating a city-level blueprint for trusted legal identity and background checks,” said CEO Blake Hall. “It will enable consumers to have greater trust in their transactions on peer to peer platforms.” has received grants from NSTIC before, including a $1.2 million grant in 2013 and a $1.6 million grant in 2014. began as a school project in 2010 when cofunders Hall and Matthew Thompson, both army veterans, were studying at Harvard Business School. It initially focused on veterans and since expanded to students, educators and first responders. It now wants to target all U.S. citizens.

We profiled the venture-backed company in 2014. It’s raised $21.5 million since 2011, Hall told us. Most recently, it raised a $3 million round in 2015, according to an SEC filing, a follow-up to the $10 million Series A it closed in 2014 from investors like Silicon Valley Bank, USAADavid Tisch’s Box Group, Kelly Perdew, K Street Capital and Blu Venture Investors, according to a press release. The company employs more than 40 people out of its McLean office, Hall said.


When we asked Hall about the grant, he sent us a photo of engineer Kenn Miller in a lobster costume holding a toy pistol. A little Maine and Texas mashup ( is also piloting its federal credentials program in Texas). Those jokesters.

Also, from Hall’s personal life, there’s another congratulations in order: last Friday, he and his wife welcomed a new baby boy into their family.

Julia Airey

Julia Airey is a graduate of the University College Roosevelt with a triple-major in Law, Linguistics and Geography. An alumna of UWC-USA, Airey organized the digital #ForcedToUnite Conference and runs the journalism blog, How is that Legal? In her free time, she like dogs of the large and fluffy variety.


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