The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

May - 2009 - issue > Cover Story

Intelius: Bringing Data to Life

Vimali Swamy
Friday, May 1, 2009
Vimali Swamy
Forbes lists him in its Top 100 Entrepreneurs and he had one of the most successful ventures of the Internet wave in the late 1990s. He dispels the claims about breakthrough technology innovation but strongly believes in properly executing the simplest of ideas. Meet Naveen Jain, one of the most well known Indian entrepreneurs in the U.S. His current venture today, Intelius, offers nothing but vital information that helps people and businesses make day-to-day decisions intelligently. Founded in 2003, the Bellevue based Intelius offers products and services ranging from basic people search and list management to comprehensive HR background checks and one of the best identity theft protection products available.

Pioneering Information Commerce

Post his exit from his prior venture, InfoSpace, Jain teamed with five other friends and fellow entrepreneurs to embark on a new venture. Given his deep knowledge and experience in the Internet space, he had observed that there were fundamentally two business models that worked: 1) Information business, where companies like Yahoo! generated quality content and monetized through ads and 2) E-commerce business, which was successfully deployed by retailers like Amazon.

But realizing the potential of combining both the businesses into one, he opened up the doors with Intelius for a new business called ‘Information Commerce’. “We did not have a breakthrough technology or innovation but we did have an idea that, if brilliantly executed, could definitely set the market abuzz,” says Jain, who believes that the success of a venture in the end always boils down to the effective execution of the initial idea. Having observed that lack of information was the biggest problem for people, the question was how could he help in terms of information that would solve real world problems. Be it the background details about the blind date a woman is about to meet or details of the new ‘friend’ a teenager is on the phone with or screening of a new employee, consumers and businesses were sure to pay for such information.

Leveraging on the opportunity, Intelius used a direct to consumer approach and built a site where people could get complete background information about themselves and others by sourcing the data from publicly available sources. Though it sounds like a simple matter of a simple query on a search engine, one would be surprised to know that the same information couldn’t be found elsewhere online. In order to do so, one would have to know where to find it, whom to ask, and what documentation one would need to access it. This is where Intelius comes into play. Using proprietary semantic technology to link billions of online and offline records from public and professional databases as well as social networking profiles, Intelius categorizes data to create panoramic profiles of individuals. Included in this data are one’s name, bankruptcy liens, judgments, licenses, insurance, address history, phone numbers, marriage and divorce records, and property information which get updated every day on a real-time basis.

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Reader's comments(1)
1:Great article. I believe in Mr.Jains ideas too.
Posted by: vishnu lokula - 21st May 2009
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