Founder and CEO: Bryan Hobbs
Year founded: 2019
Pruuvn is a startup supported by the Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator® powered by gener8tor.
Trained as a civil engineer with a minor in computer applications technology, Bryan Hobbs successfully spent the first 14 years of his career working for corporate, government and private entities where he oversaw large infrastructure projects in the transportation space. But every time he and his family moved so he could to take on a new job opportunity, his wife, who is an educator, had to find a new job as well. Each new school district required her to reverify her credentials, which set her base pay. Not only was the manual process used frustratingly antiquated — typically done via fax or snail mail — it also caused her to lose income. After this happened several times, Hobbs felt sure that there had to a better way using current technology to access and transfer information that had previously been verified.
In his professional roles, Hobbs also worked with many contract workers who often had problems verifying their credentialing as they moved from job to job. So in 2019, he founded Pruuvn, a credentialing and data trust management company that helps organizations with onboarding, training and compliance. The company’s platform also provides individuals with access to their portable data, which they can provide to a financial institution, use to get a job or secure an educational opportunity.
Below he shares how the company’s program works, offers some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and explains why his goals for global success are tied to fostering upward economic mobility for everyone.
How does Pruuvn work?
Pruuvn is a data trust. We serve as the trustee of your data but you control it, and you use it however you want. Whenever you need to share your sensitive information, our company confirms that your data is real and that we have verified it through our process. We do this by utilizing blockchain technology that allows individuals to maintain control of their credentialing and background data and gives them the ability to share it on-demand with virtually anyone — anywhere and at any time. For individuals, having this capability is an advantage that fosters their upward economic mobility.
How does Pruuvn help upward economic mobility?
From a financial standpoint — once we have your credentials and all of your data and we’ve verified it and become your trustee — we can immediately connect you with organizations who can instantly onboard you, dramatically shortening what would typically have been a long process.
Not only does our platform give you control over your data but it also puts you in the system, which gives you access to offers, services and products from the organizations that partner with us. We also have an AI machine in our system learning things from both sides of the equation. So it can point enterprises, organizations and individuals in beneficial directions, and those connections can help support upward economic mobility.
What advice do you have for Black entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own businesses?
You should go for it. A lot of people talk about building businesses but many potential entrepreneurs give up too easily. Don’t have a mentality of “I wish I could have.” If you have an idea and you really believe in it, pursue it. You need to take that leap of faith.
Then, it’s very important to get into your local ecosystem. Reach out to individuals who have done this before or who are there to assist you — there are a lot of organizations out there where you can get advice and help to grow your business.
What makes you most proud in terms of your business?
One, we’re still in business — and we’re growing! That’s notable since most startups die within three years. But mainly it’s that we’re actually helping people. There are people who use our system to get jobs, financial products or service opportunities.
What are your long-term goals for the company?
The vision for Pruuvn is essentially to be the largest data trust in the world that continues to foster upward economic mobility. We want to provide economic opportunities for every individual in the global economy. Allowing individuals to the power to personally access their data gives them a large amount of control over their lives. It’s important.
So right now, we are focused on continuing to grow in a sustainable way. We have a large pipeline now coming out of this program and our growth trajectory is good. Our ultimate goal? We intend to make Pruuvn the largest data trust in the world. You will know the Pruuvn name. You will have a Pruuvn ID. You will utilize Pruuvn to gain that upward economic mobility and we’re on our way to making that a reality.