Online I'm a Supermodel

The internet often masks true identity. REPP verifies reputations for safe interactions.

By Michelle Valigursky

Story Photo

Michael Bergman 03L, founder and CEO of REPP, demonstrates how tricky online relationships can be without identity verification. (See all of Bergman’s clever shirt.)

Conversation seems innocent, but that 29-year-old charmer you’re engaging with online might in fact be a 67-year-old ex-con with outstanding warrants. “Everyday millions of people interact with complete strangers online. Until now, there has been no easy way to evaluate trustworthiness and safety,” says Michael Bergman 03L, CEO and founder of REPP. Now, REPP offers a verified solution to identity fraud.

With approximately 40 million online daters in the United States, more than 1,500 online dating sites, 60 million monthly users on Craigslist, and millions of rooms booked each night on travel sites, the need for personal transparency rises daily. The REPP concept offers a much-needed solution to address a growing issue for people who use these sites.

“REPP is a patent-pending online identity and background management platform for individuals and service providers, where all checks and verifications are initiated by the profile owner,” Bergman explains. “Between the lack of personal information on the web and false search results, our search for truth often ends in misinformation. REPP helps ensure truth. Accurate transparency in online transaction can now be the norm.”

The REPP Process

Named by CNBC as one of the World’s Most Promising New Companies, REPP is gaining ground quickly. After initial venture capital funding, the company has an eye on rapid expansion. “Our business model is to partner with online dating, peer-to-peer, and commerce sites to provide revenue and an easy to integrate Application Programming Interface (API),” Bergman explains. The company’s technology team launched a private beta test in January 2013 and open beta in May 2013 to successful results. Many users were able, for the first time, to curate their own information and share it as they wanted.

 “REPP will provide consumers the ability to create their own profile, starting at $11.99, which can be embedded and shared throughout the web,” Bergman says. Like referencing a credit report, REPP advises individuals to understand what appears as a result of their own background check. “Creating a REPP Profile gives you knowledge and control of what’s out there about you. Sharing it becomes a secondary benefit.” 

So how does REPP work for the individual? “Instead of searching out the details of someone else’s background, piecing together stories, pictures, and articles, some of which may be untrue, REPP allows individuals to verify their own identification and run their own background check, using our patent pending system,” Bergman explains. “Now, users can exchange REPP profiles, and have peace of mind to sell a couch or go on a date.”

Dooley REPP Profile

To create a REPP profile like the one pictured here for James W. Dooley, Emory’s oldest living student, “Users populate their profiles with various REPP checks, including a criminal background check, identification verification, social media linking, and profile picture verification,” Bergman says. “Each of these checks provides another layer of transparency, making new online interactions more comfortable for everyone.”

Because profiles are distributed by one individual to another individual, different levels of profiles can also be created for unique circumstances such as dating or commerce. “Assume you are selling a couch online and a stranger plans to come to your house. You can ask to view their REPP Profile to know more about that person.  In exchange, you can provide your customized REPP Profile, with elements such as ID verification and background check. Both parties feel safe, and a time limit for sharing profiles can be set to accommodate the single transaction.” 

REPP

Bergman says, “Here’s the REPP team at our demo day at Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds) - where we ‘pitched’ REPP to investors.” The event was a huge success.

The idea for REPP came to Bergman, coincidentally, when he began dating his wife, BreeAnna. “Before our second date, she searched the internet to find out what she could about me,” he recalls. “It hit me then. There had to be a better way for people to understand and feel more comfortable about their personal safety online.”

Two years later, the married couple works together at the company inspired by their first date. Bergman is ready to grow REPP – and people’s confidence in online interactions. “The creation of a startup from an idea to a working business that can positively affect individuals is a tremendous feeling. From the student who travels on Airbnb who wants to feel safe staying in someone else’s house, to the personal auto seller who wants to know the test driver of their car isn’t a felon, REPP will make a positive impact on all types of web interactions.”

Editor’s Note: REPP is offering REPP Profiles ($24.99 value) free for the Open Beta. Bergman says, “I invite the Emory community to take control of personal information and create a REPP Profile at https://myREPP.com and email me with any questions – Info@myREPP.com .”

Email the editor

Michelle Valigursky