Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert, leading an executive trade mission in Mexico, invited technology start-up Converus to join the delegation and to present during a business briefing in Mexico City on April 8.
The goal of this trade mission is to increase joint business initiatives between Mexico and Utah and help grow the economies of both. Lehi-based Converus was selected because of its already strong ties to Mexico. Alta Ventures Mexico is the company’s principle investor, and the fund supporting their investment comes from Mexican investors. Because of this connection, Converus chose to introduce its patent-pending lie detection technology — branded EyeDetect — to the world at ExpoSeguridad in Mexico City April 8-10.
“We received an infusion of capital by Alta Ventures Mexico in March 2013. This enabled us to accelerate the commercialization of this new technology and bring it to the market one year later,” said Converus CEO and President Todd Mickelsen. “It took scientists at the University of Utah 10 years to develop EyeDetect, which is the first computer-based exam that monitors eye behavior to detect deception.”
“Converus is a great example of how a Utah company teams up with the business and investment community of Mexico to help both economies,” said Governor Herbert. “The EyeDetect technology should be particularly appealing to companies and investors in Mexico.”
According to Mickelsen, the billions of dollars lost annually due to fraud and crime severely hampers economic growth. He says Converus not only facilitates economic growth for Utah and Mexico through job creation in both locations, but it also helps combat and reduce fraud and crime — thus making the Mexican economy more productive. A former director of the FBI in Mexico said a major Mexico institution had to fire all its polygraph examiners after they were caught adjusting test results to improve the pass rate. “They are looking for an incorruptible, less expensive, and faster performing solution like Converus’ EyeDetect,” he said.
“It’s an amazing honor as a start-up to be invited to join the governor’s trade mission and to represent Utah’s businesses,” said Mickelsen. “Mexico is our beachhead market and therefore crucial to our product launch. Last October Converus optimized the EyeDetect technology for the Latin American market by running a mock crime field study with 200 students at the Tecnológico de Monterrey. EyeDetect was 85% accurate in identifying both guilty and innocent subjects.”
EyeDetect enables companies to screen out potential employees who would otherwise falsify their experience or be untruthful about previous activities with illegal drugs, stealing from an employer, accepting or receiving inappropriate benefits from an employer or divulging confidential information. It’s also designed for occasional employee screening.