Online Dating Helps Fuel Growth for Arlington Private-eye Company

WASHINGTON — Trustify, a two-year-old company that provides an on-demand service for vetted private investigators, will spend $1 million on expansion at its Crystal City, Virginia, headquarters and more than quadruple its workforce over the next three years.

A decline in trust, truth and safety in general, and the explosion of online dating sites specifically, account for part of the rapidly growing demand for Trustify’s services, its co-founder said.

Trustify co-founder Danny Boice is aggressively expanding his Crystal City business because of growing demand for its on-demand private investigator service. (Courtesy Trustify)

“I always joke that I’m almost 40, and I don’t know if I could date in today’s dating environment; looking at everyone using Tinder and all the other services — it’s just a whole different ballgame,” Trustify CEO Danny Boice told WTOP.

“Unfortunately, it’s also more conducive to people committing fraud, lying and, in the lighter sense, puffing up their profile or their resume. The same way technology facilitates exponential growth of social networks, it also facilitates exponential growth of dishonesty and fraud,” Boice said.

Background checks and other private investigative services provided by Trustify’s member PIs can help expose much of that.

Trustify, which moved from D.C. to its Crystal City location with a 180-degree view of the D.C. monuments and river a year ago, currently leases 10,000 square feet at 200 12th St. South. Its lease terms give it the option to lease additional space in the building, and it will start by doubling its current square footage.

The company has already doubled its workforce to about 50 employees since moving to Crystal City last year. It expects to bring on more than 180 additional employees in the next three years.

Trustify, a sort of Angie’s List for private investigators, is built on a model that makes background checking services accessible to every business and consumer at affordable hourly rates. For consumers, the service starts at a flat $99 an hour with no retainers. Trustify matches cases with appropriate investigators from a nationwide network.

Matches are made by location and an investigator’s area of expertise.

Trustify’s customers run the gamut, from suspicious spouses to businesses checking on potential partners to distraught parents searching for runaway children.

Boice, who founded Trustify with his wife Jennifer Mellon, said the company also does a fair share of pro bono work. Helping people who can’t afford to get the help they need was something that was baked into their business plan from the beginning.

“We’re involved in human trafficking cases and breaking up sex trafficking rings, helping domestic violence victims escape their situation, finding runaway children and even smaller, less press-worthy stories that we get involved in,” Boice said.

Trustify is receiving some incentives for expanding in Virginia through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

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