As a self-employed person, I don’t encounter a lot of HR investigations – though I do wonder who ate my Pizza Mondo leftovers (OK, it was me). However, Dana Barbato, founder of InvestiPro has spent nearly 25 years working in HR, with a focus on employee relations and investigations. “I came to be known as the go-to person for sticky employee situations,” says Dana, who was able to transform these challenging circumstances into a workable, repeatable processes.

She created InvestiPro – cloud-based, workplace investigations software – to bring such a process to more companies. Launched in August, her software was selected as one of eight products vying for the title Next Great HR Technology Company last week at the HR Tech Conference in Chicago. Her company finished in the top four.

Have idea – will travel

The seed for Dana’s product came via frustration; she grew tired of so many companies having an ad hoc process and no good tools for handling employee claims of harassment and discrimination. She notes that employment and labor law attorneys are often reluctant to do the investigations because of regulations that say if the case goes to court, they can’t represent their client.

Dana Barbato, founder of InvestiPro.
Dana Barbato, founder of InvestiPro.

“So lots of companies will bring in consultants, but now there’s several states that don’t allow consultants,” she says. “There are really no tools out there.” So Dana moved to Bend two years ago to join her grown children here and began building InvestiPro last year.

She came up with the concept and hired developers to create the software. As Dana describes it, the product provides training to HR professionals and managers regarding employment investigations and then walks them through a step-by-step process, denoting which questions to ask and what actions to take.

“It calculates everything together into a nice succinct report that is legally compliant in all 50 states,” she says. Companies can then take the findings to attorneys if they need further advice, or take corrective based on the report.

Industry attention

InvestiPro is priced per use. So a company would pay about $500 to use it for one investigation, with companies with larger needs able to purchase larger packages. The key thing, Dana says, is that simply showing you have a dedicated, repeatable investigations process can prevent complaints from turning into lawsuits.

InvestiPro dashboard.
InvestiPro dashboard.

“Fifty-three percent of claims were automatically denied by the EEOC in 2014 based on the fact that that company did a proper investigation,” she says.

She’ll be presenting InvestiPro at the BVC on Thursday as part of the early stage competition. She’s getting ready to fundraise and already planning the next versions of InvestiPro, which could expand into workers compensation investigations among other things.

Dana says she’s been contacted by large companies with remote workforces and decentralized HR, as well as smaller firms in need. “We are marketing through HR Conferences, small business communications, and social media, and the product feedback we are getting is very positive,” she says.

Stay tuned for more startup profiles throughout the month, as well as BVC coverage and results. Good luck to Dana and all the startups pitching.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley