Our story

Gradbase started as a university project at Imperial College London, in early 2015.

The aim of the project was that of providing a blockchain-based solution to the problem of CV fraud, which affects, positively or negatively, at least 12 million people per year in the UK alone.

According to recent surveys, at least one third of people commit CV fraud in the UK, either via embellishing or outright lying about records and work experience they claim to possess. This activity is easy to get away with nowadays since 1 in 3 employers for high-skilled jobs does not perform background checking at all and universities make it very painful to verify records by not enforcing a standard procedure for doing so, offering instead snail-mail correspondence in some cases and waiting times of several weeks.

1 in 3 employers in the UK perform no background checking, and universities make it often difficult to allow someone to perform a check on a graduate. In this scenario, at least one third of people commit CV fraud.

In today’s highly competitive job market -- where candidates with less than an upper-second class degree are swiftly filtered out of the scrutinising processes – the temptation to embellish one’s CV is strong. This phenomenon, paired with the inefficiencies explained above, allows many bogus job candidates to make it to the interview stage, but only get filtered out once the hiring decision is about to be made and few candidates' verifications need to be performed. As a consequence, time is often wasted interviewing such individuals, who would gladly be filtered out sooner.

By harnessing the technology pioneered by Manuel Araoz and Esteban Ordano, Proof Of Existence, that allows to verify integrity of documents on the Bitcoin Blockchain, we sought to develop a unique, instant and standardised way for frictionless and instant verification of records. The initial version of Gradbase contained barely any of the features present today. However, we also provided a Chrome browser extension to verify on-the-fly any academic information present on LinkedIn profiles.

Soon, we attracted college-wide attention, and with this came two great awards: the Palantir Forward prize, as best group project that solves a real-world problem, and second place in the maiden Imperial Bitcoin Forum prize supported by Entrepreneur First.

One day in April 2016, we got an invitation by Daniel Masters, Director of Global Advisors (Jersey) Limited, who was quick in offering us an investment package which would potentially turn Gradbase into something marketable and successful. Just three weeks later, Gradbase Limited was incorporated with 7 excited shareholders on board.

One day in April 2016, Daniel Masters invited us to lunch. Three weeks later, Gradbase Limited was incorporated with 7 excited shareholders on board.

Work on Gradbase resumed in mid-September 2016: by that time, the product had been parked up for 18 months, meaning that most of the code was deprecated and had to be re-written to keep up with advancements in the underlying technology. We also implemented many new features that make the site a lot more complete than it was before.

Fast forward to today, and we expect to push for an early adoption both in the university and employer spheres, with the view to create a small ecosystem of issuers and verifiers that can prove product-market fit for Gradbase. As regards features, we expect to launch social media campaigns and a blog, and make the user experience on the site more seamless.

Finally, we hope to continue our partnership with Imperial College through the acquisition of a government grant for businesses leveraging blockchain technologies in novel ways. Because, as they say, you must never forget your roots.