By Christian Stafford
After insightful and rewarding co-op experiences at both TripAdvisor and PayPal during his tenure at the College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS), self-proclaimed workaholic, David Thor, kicked-off his entrepreneurial career by founding his own company, Arcus Solutions. Arcus grew to a profitable, five-person team before being acquired by the recently venture-funded software company, Confirm.io in 2015. In early 2018, Confirm.io was acquired by Facebook.
According to Thor (BS, Computer Science/Mathematics ’13) , Confirm.io was a software company that, “built machine-learning models to forensically determine if government issued IDs were real or fake based on pictures captured from mobile devices.” After the acquisition of Arcus Solutions, Thor assumed the role of Director of Engineering at Confirm.io, where his duties included helping to build his team and product from the ground up.
Since that point, Thor said that the newly merged teams, “worked tirelessly to build a state-of-the-art, machine-learning powered authentication API that could safely and securely determine if IDs were real in a matter of seconds, without ever having to waste the time of fallible human eyes.” The API they developed enabled them to land deals with major players such as Fortune 50 retailers, international banks and major sharing-economy companies. “It was a combination of our technical innovation and stellar team that drove our success and ultimately appealed to companies like Facebook, eventually leading to our acquisition,” he said.
The merger of Confirm.io and Facebook is important in both its reflection of Facebook’s growing presence in Boston and because ID verification will serve an important role in protecting the Facebook community, Thor said. “Confirm.io served its business partners in banking, the sharing economy and Software as a Service (SaaS) enterprise extremely well by enabling remote identity-proofing in some of the most risky digital surfaces like account-lockout and high-risk transactions, and Facebook sees an opportunity for our team and technology to do the same for them,” he said.
While there have been many changes since the merger, Thor said that he and his team from Confirm.io are still focused on the betterment of their machine learning technology. “My day-to-day has certainly changed, but a large chunk of my team, including myself, have come along to Facebook to both ensure a smooth transition of the technology, and to help Facebook tackle some of its most difficult problems as part of its Community Integrity team,” he said. “While our team’s focus has shifted from servicing customers to supporting Facebook and its product families, we remain completely focused on the betterment of our machine learning techniques to identify fraud in identity documents.”
As for what he has planned for the future, Thor said that with over 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the perfect fit for him to continue protecting people and empowering them to safely navigate the internet. “There is still an abundance of innovation to be found in ID authentication and identity proofing overall, and for now I will continue working with my colleagues at Facebook to identify and build solutions that will empower people around the world,” said Thor. “I am always looking for the next great opportunity to use software for the improvement of our collective world.”