Shmulik Fishman

Shmulik Fishman


Leveraging Access to Employment History Databases

Access is the kindling for solutions. Beneath fancy marketing, detailed API documentation, and flashy news articles, infrastructure companies are selling just one capability — access.

Twilio provides access to telecommunications networks and has spent the last 14 years building a $19B business of solutions spanning from automated text messaging to phone bank routing. Stripe provides access to payment processors and has spent the last 13 years building a $95B business of solutions spanning from online checkout automation to on-demand credit card issuing. AWS provides access to computing power and has spent the last 16 years building a  business of solutions spanning from database storage to machine learning that is expected to be worth $1T by 2026.

Argyle provides access to an employment history database. This access is already enabling a set of solutions - from verification checks, to real-time earnings and employment history, to direct deposit switching. But, because we are a younger company, we are focusing the majority of our effort on access records. For us, solutions are simply the packaging of the work we are doing around access.

Nevertheless, clients buy solutions so that's what Argyle sells. And, as we sell our current list of solutions, three common threads have emerged:

  • What % of employment records can you access today? This is a conversation about Argyle's coverage; the number of employers we can fetch records from through our employee database. The only number the team here will be ok with is 100% - and we have a clear path to get there.

  • What information can I get from employment records? This is a conversation about Argyle's API; the different data elements available to a client. Argyle has over 100 different data elements today and believes this covers most current client use cases.

  • What does access to an employment database give me that I can't get from somewhere else? This is a conversation about our competitive landscape and if other providers can do what we do.

Part 3 is the most interesting, and not because we spend a lot of time thinking about our competition. All the solutions we sell can be achieved through other means. Before Twillo you could still send text messages; before Stripe you could still process credit card payments; before AWS you could still store data on a server. There is nothing new about employment records - Argyle is just making access to these records simple and useful in a way that has not been done before. Said another way: A company today can change direct deposit information - It's just not that simple or useful with today's current landscape.

If Argyle's solutions are already available today, then the work is about stacking Argyle's version of a solution against other offerings. Let's do this for Verification of Income and Employment. These verifications are used to underwrite loans, mortgages, cash advances, and identity checks. Plaid offers such a solution through its access to financial institutions. Argyle offers the same solution through access to employment records. Let's see how these two different forms of access produce the same solution:

Now, this is just for one solution (Argyle has several) and only stacked up with one alternative provider. We are transparently biased at Argyle - we believe that access to employment records is better kindling for the set of solutions that clients are searching for in the market. Perhaps this exercise has convinced you of the same.