Meet Dr Rachel O’Connell, Founder and CEO at TrustElevate: An Age Verification And Parental Control Company

TrustElevate is a secure, accurate and privacy-preserving provider of child age verification and parental consent. We facilitate safe digital parenting opportunities that build transparency and accountability into the digital ecosystem.

Our offerings span EdTech, gaming, social media and banking, acting as a trusted platform to simplify age verification across all age groups. The plug-and-play solutions we provide offer a greater level of protection at a time when child abuse online is at an all-time high, and we pride ourselves on being a zero data company.
TrustElevate - Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Protecting young people online has been a passion of mine for over 25 years. My PhD examined the implications of online paedophile activity for investigative strategies, which then informed the drafting of the 1998 Child Pornography Act (Ireland) and the 2003 Sexual Offences Act (UK).

As Chief Security Officer at Bebo, I became convinced that platforms could create safer spaces online if they reliably knew the ages of their users, and later worked with the UK Government on the GOV.UK Verify digital identity initiative.

TrustElevate’s technology is the implementation of years of research, thought leadership and commercial experience in the field as well as the result of a lifelong commitment to uphold the fundamental rights of children.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

The emphasis on distanced virtual learning has certainly shifted our focus towards EdTech providers. We have been running a series of technical trials in partnership with BT, and are working with EdTech companies and school tech suppliers to create safer virtual learning environments for children at school.

The pandemic saw a massive spike in child sexual abuse online. The complexities of combatting this issue have increased as the data-driven operations of platforms inadvertently facilitate and enable abuse, so it’s more important than ever for platforms to know the ages of their users and how to better protect them.

What can we hope to see from TrustElevate in the future?

We’re currently preparing for our nationwide launch in April 2022. Our vision is to have our solution integrated with major mobile operators and global tech platforms across social media, gaming, and e-learning to ensure that children can safely participate in the online world. By integrating TrustElevate’s Manage my Family service into mobile operators’ native apps, we effectively triangulate parent-child and platform. Mobile operators as channel partners enables us to adopt a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach with which to land and expand in different markets.

We’re also currently developing a Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) as part of a government-funded project. The CRIA will be a set of decision trees which will allow designers and developers to check whether a product feature is suitable for a certain age band and, if it is not, what can be done to mitigate those risks or if there are alternatives. Once it is rolled out, we intend to use the opportunity to present TrustElevate’s services as a safety tool.