Garbo was founded in 2018 by Kathryn Kosmides after she realized the opportunity to bring people, platforms, and policymakers together to redefine safety in the digital age. She knew firsthand the problems victims face when reporting and the lack of deterrence and accountability for perpetrators. She wanted to develop a new kind of safety system that helped connect the dots between detecting and reporting a bad actor.
She wanted to prevent what happened to her from happening to others — and set out to build a new kind of online background check system along with tools and educational resources that focused on balancing privacy and protection.
In March 2022, Garbo launched our new kind of online consumer background check application. Since then, we have helped more than 2.5 million people to identify red flags and if someone has a history of harm through our technology, tools, and educational resources. We’ve worked with countless expert advocates and organizations, including The National Domestic Violence Hotline, The National Center for Victims of Crime, RAINN, and so many other incredible organizations and folks who gave their time and talent to help us try to revolutionize the broken system of background checks and public record access.
While we know our technology helped millions of people, with 1 in 6 background check searches on Garbo showing a harmful or violent record, we also faced immense challenges in the past few years including the problems with public records, threats from bad actors, and trusting online platforms to care about their user's safety.
As of August 31, 2023, Garbo chose to shut down our background check technology and refocus our efforts on fixing the foundational issues alongside new and innovative technology, tools, and education.
The problem of gender-based violence in the digital age has not gone away — and we're not going away either.
Garbo has shifted back to a volunteer-run organization for the time being and will continue to provide resources and tools as we forge a new foundation.
If you want to be a part of this next step in Garbo’s journey, please reach out to us at email@example.com and let us know how you’re interested in helping - from feedback, collaboration, to volunteering and other various ways to support us in this next chapter.
Over 1 in 3 women, 1 in 4 men, and 1 in 2 trans individuals in the US experiencing rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime — resulting in over 12,000,000 victims per year that costs to the US economy over $8.3 billion.
Studies show that gender-based violence offenders often start in adolescence and without treatment can commit up to 380 separate acts of violence in their lifetime. Up to 71% of this type of bad actors are serial offenders who will have on average 11+ victims in their lifetime.
The data continuously shows that traditional legal systems harm victims while enabling perpetrators to cause further harm. If a victim does report, there is less than a 5% chance that the perpetrator will have a record that appears on an average background check.