Startup Story: Andrew Hine & Reputationaire

Over the last few years, there has been the largest drop in trust across government, business, media and non-governmental organisations. With more interactions taking place online, trust is in a state of crisis and these lowering standards are continually seeping into everyday life. We’re hitting a point where true authenticity is getting harder and hard to seek out.

Even though 72 percent of employers are running background checks on potential employees and 70 per cent are checking personal social media accounts, statistics also show that 85 percent of job applicants lie on their resumes. Similarly, according to rent.com, nine out of ten landlords will conduct a thorough background check on potential tenants, and their findings dramatically impact who they offer a lease to.

This is all well and good if we’re trying to ensure the honest and genuine prevail in these trying times, but a big issue occurs when an individual isn’t able to provide appropriate references or reliable testimonials to ensure their trustworthiness. Surely, ignoring these individuals altogether and leaving them homeless or jobless can’t be the answer.

Meet Andrew Hine, founder of Reputationaire. After graduating from Oxford University with first-class honours, Andrew spent a year in Japan on a scholarship before falling in love with Australia and applying for a skilled migrant permanent residence in 2016. Now based here, he has spent the following years building Reputationaire—an app that uses blockchain technology to enable users to store their reputation, via verified ratings from popular websites like AirBnB, Uber and Facebook, and ensure their trustworthiness.

This is his story.

Growing up as a child without the internet, I’ve witnessed the scams, fraud and distrust as the internet age has dawned. I’ve been affected personally having worrying experiences online dating meeting people not who they said they were!

To be honest, I’d not had much luck online dating at all but one day I accidentally became successful. I didn’t know why until I realised I’d updated my dating profile with a link to my private tutoring website. Trust from testimonials by students about my professional life (tutoring) had carried across industry verticals & increased trust others had for me in my personal life (dating).

As someone who has lived in three countries, each time starting from scratch with no social circle or contacts this got me thinking—how can people prove they are trustworthy in any context?

Trust is a big issue; in 10 years, 40% of the global workforce will be gig workers generating $2 trillion yearly and using their hard-earned reputation to prove they are trustworthy.

But can individuals use their reputation (eg. as an Airbnb guest) to help secure a tenancy agreement?

After 18 years in IT development, I realised it could and started Reputationaire—a blockchain-enabled platform for securely importing, storing and exchanging verified reputation data to boost the value of reputation in the gig economy. Our mission is to allow users to remain anonymous yet trusted, in full control of which aspects of their reputation they reveal and to who—freeing them from any human prejudices.

Back in 2017, Reputationaire was listed as a finalist for Hatch Quarter’s startup prize, and more recently, Andrew and his team graduated from YCombinator’s Startup School after IBM awarded them $220k in credit to help build their tech. Now with a group of small local clients, ranging from estate agents, to employers and recruiters, they are proving their platform is capable of socially verifying the reliability and trustworthiness of Reputationaire applicants, while helping the individuals secure rentals and jobs that they may have missed out on otherwise, due to a lack of local references.

Andrew also tells us that Reputationare is currently in conversation with a number of large corporate companies discussing potential partnership to enable their project to run on a bigger scale and refine their tech, suggesting that 2019 is looking to be a incredible year for the young business.

If Reputationaire sounds as impressive to you as it does to us, we’d really recommend you try it out, and if you think you could provide any services or advice to help Andrew grow his business further, please get in touch: contact@reputationaire.com

If you’re like Andrew and have noticed an issue in your personal life, it’s quite likely a solution would be relevant to a lot more people. Have you considered taking your idea out into the world?

If you’re looking to start working on an idea or project in Victoria, you can’t look past the Startup Playbook. The Playbook a tool designed by Hatch Quarter to help migrant and refugee entrepreneurs establish themselves in Victoria. Packed with knowledge on how you can build your startup in Australia, it also shares inspiring success stories like Andrew’s, and recognises many of the pitfalls where others have struggled to save you from making the same mistakes.

And best of all, it’s free!

Check it out now: https://playbook.hatchquarter.com.au/