Now That You Know What We’re All About, Let’s Talk About How We Made Ferret A Reality
From Our Founder & CEO, Rob Loughan
Ferret started serendipitously. Funny enough, I didn't plan to start this company.
As I was looking for deals, I found one really close to home with someone I knew, a certain company selling data to banks for anti-money-laundering compliance, which sounds exceedingly boring, but everyone needs it. A lot of new compliance laws were coming out, so they were in the right place at the right time and I wrote the check as an investor. And away it ran.
What’s interesting is that I found that I became very dependent on their product to make decisions. It didn't run on a phone, it ran in the back offices of compliance managers, the rooms in the back of the bank with no windows. It wasn’t part of the mainstream, and seemed to serve the 1% versus the rest of us.
So, because I knew this data was there and that I had access, and it had nefarious actors flagged in it with info on past deeds from all around the world, every time I met someone to do business with, I would call the CEO of the company and say, ‘Can you look this person up for me and tell me all the dirt, if there is any.’
One day, I got a call from the founder of this company, and he said he wanted to sell the company because he knew that it was the right time. He was correct, he would be able to sell the company very easily.
Well, I woke up the next morning. And I said, I have an idea on how to use this data. I told him, I would like to partner with him.
And that's how Ferret was born.
Ferret was designed to help everyday folks uncover the good, the bad and the ugly about their connections. Do you have any stories of bad actors getting away with bad deeds?
Well, let me start by saying, once you're burned, and burned badly, it never leaves you. And you say two things to yourself.
First, I don't want that to ever happen to me again.
And then obviously, you're thinking, I wish I could come up with a way where it didn't happen at all.
So yeah, what happened to me was I did start another company. I've started many companies but this one company found itself on the front cover of the business section, the Wall Street Journal. It was a software for Supply Chain Management optimization product that I conceived.
Goldman Sachs introduced me to an investor at One Financial Center in New York. You don't think you need to do much due diligence after the ‘talk of the town’ introduces you to an investor.
Well, we took their money and about six, seven months later, they convinced us to do a bridge.
A couple of weeks before we're ready to pay the bridge, but this investor said no, no, no, don't pay and we'll let it slide and I'll put more money in. But instead, three days later, we got served. This investor I was introduced to failed to sign the documentation we sent over.
Turns out, I never checked data for this person.
He changed his name. He changed his first name just for that purpose to not be able to be found. And when we did, when we did finally look into him, we found out that this was a game for him, and he had played it with three other companies and was being sued by them for his nefarious acts of trying to steal the company.
The problem is that things like a traditional background check wouldn't work. Because first of all, he hadn't been convicted of anything. Background checks really only tell you what happens ex post facto after the fact, our data is far more in-depth, the reach is far more wide and deep.
This is why I created Ferret.