HUMINT Source Inquiries Shed Light on Production Executive’s Lackluster Professional History

Background

Forward Risk was engaged by a venture capital company which sought to ascertain whether a video streaming startup’s Chief Content Officer had sufficient levels of skill and expertise to drive content output.

Our Work

Our traditional due diligence research and open source investigative work, which focused largely on available public records, did not initially yield material red flags. However, certain findings pointed to weaknesses in his resume and general caliber of work. For example, in addition to some resume gaps, the majority of projects he had worked on appeared to be amateur productions. As a follow-up measure to develop full context for the situation at hand, our team conducted source inquiries to obtain more targeted insight into the subject’s professional performance record. This combined research methodology allowed for a more nuanced understanding of the subject that ultimately led to key business decisions on the part of the client.

Results

Although the subject had initially garnered praise from his company’s CEO, gaps were discovered in his resume that prompted further research, including additional discussions via direct source inquiries. Ultimately, these conversations indicated that the subject — while capable of success in the context of a larger and better-established company with an existing brand and network of connections to leverage — was a poor skill fit for a startup environment. Specifically, he lacked both the relevant industry connections and appropriate skill set to build a professional content sourcing and production process from the ground up. In response, the client decided to dilute their stake vis-a-vis co-investors.