Gary McKay – Co-Founder of APPII

19 April 2021

APPII was founded in 2016 as a personal identity verification platform. Since then, Gary McKay and his co-Founders led it through pivot and expansion

opinion : Clients

APPII was founded in 2016 as a personal identity verification platform.

Founder and Managing Director Gary McKay – along with co-Founders Adi Ben-Ari and Brian McNulty – initially developed APPII as a blockchain-based CV verification platform but have extended its capabilities for employee onboarding and background checking.

Today APPII allows 35 different types of checks, including a Digital Health Pass where users can save and verify their COVID-19 test results and vaccination records.

Becoming a founder happened because…

It was a series of circumstances that led me to founding APPII with Brian and Adi.

Firstly, I had been working with blockchain technology that I thought could be applied to challenges outside of the financial services industry that I was in at the time.

Secondly, personal circumstances brought me back to the UK, and I was in two minds on whether to start my own business or to find a job in a corporate.

Finally, as I was looking for corporate jobs it became apparent that there were issues associated with staffing and recruitment activities, in particular pre-employment screening.

That is when I took up the challenge to provide better solutions for pre-employment screening, that as a candidate, I found very frustrating, knowing that employers shared those frustrations.

The most character-forming experience for me as a Founder is…

Finding out that there’s never enough time in a day to do what is required. Having a young family, it was hard to find the time to raise my children and manage the day-to-day challenges that are associated with starting a new business.

I became a lot more patient, both in my personal and professional life.

As a business owner you need to realise and accept that not everyone is willing to work at your pace and to incorporate this into your daily actions.

The business success I’m most proud of is…

Getting the first customer.

Regardless how large or small, seeing that what you set out to achieve is of value to those who you want to engage is certainly one of the proudest moments.

The APPII platform was born as a recruitment solution. What did it take to pivot towards a Health Pass product in Covid times?

In January 2020, I became interested in what was happening in Wuhan, China.

When Wuhan went into lockdown, I realised that the same would happen in the U.K. and that there would be a need for a solution for a safe return to normal life. For people to go back to work, they would have to make sure that they were not a risk to themselves or others.

Although we initially looked at this from the perspective of a safe return to the workplace, it became clear that many other industries such as travel and tourism would need a similar form of personal verification. That gave us a chance to expand the scope of our product.

My top productivity tips in times of Covid are…

  1. Remove yourself social media. It is a distraction not worth having.
  1. Make exercise an integral part of your day.
  1. Set your day out with a degree of structure and list the 2-3 key tasks you absolutely need to complete making sure that you are going to achieve those by the end of the day.

The best bit of business advice I can give fellow founders is ..

To really think about why someone would want to buy a product or service that you are trying to bring to market. Talk to potential customers about how it can address challenges they have.

Make sure there is a market for your product and that there is value that initially cannot be matched by your competitors.

Finerva supported my business vision by …

By going above and beyond what was required to ensure our business could move forward.

When not living life as a founder I love…

…spending time with my family, especially outdoors. We live by the sea, so we spend a lot of time there.

Last year taught us that all this can be suddenly taken away without notice, so we should be reminded to embrace simple things in life and enjoy them.

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