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D Magazine's feature on Verfico CEO Matt DeSarno

Why Matthew DeSarno Left the FBI to Run a Dallas-based Tech Startup.

The longtime G-Man uses experiences gained over 20 years in the bureau to lead and grow Verfico Technology, a tech platform that helps prevent wage theft in the construction industry.

After seven different posts with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Matthew DeSarno came to Dallas in 2019 for his final assignment—to serve as the special agent in charge of the North Texas region. Just four weeks into his new post, he found himself responding to the Dallas courthouse shooting. “My role was to deploy resources like tactical, bomb, evidence, and investigation,” he tells me as we sit across from each other, sharing breakfast tacos and coffee.

DeSarno later led his team to catch a top-10 most wanted fugitive, Yaser Said, who was on the run for 12 years for murdering his two daughters in Irving. And in his final year on the job, DeSarno directed the response to a hostage situation at the Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. He mobilized his teams to diffuse the situation, and after an 11-hour standoff and negotiation with the assailant, all hostages made it out alive. “For an entire day,” he says between sips of coffee, “I was in decision mode working through different high-stakes, high-stress scenarios, and at the end of the day, effective partnerships and the behavior of the hostages led to great success.” 

DeSarno, whose father was also an FBI agent, retired in 2022 at age 50 after 20 years in the bureau. He thought he would segue to head of security for a large corporation—that was the easy and natural transition. “But I concluded that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and contribute to a higher mission,” he says. 

Matthew DeSarno presents Ross Perot Jr. with the Dallas Division’s 2020 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award.Courtesy of Matthew DeSarno

In 2019, DeSarno tells me, his brother Nick, who owns a drywall company in Washington D.C., received a subpoena alleging wage theft when his subcontractor didn’t pay in compliance with the law. “He started looking for a tech solution that could force his subs into compliance and gather information about the time they worked and what they were paid,” DeSarno says. “He couldn’t find it.”

So, Nick decided to hire a software developer to build a prototype, and he put it into action, requiring his subcontractors to use the transparency tool. He lost a couple of subcontractors—including the one who caused the lawsuit—but it maximized efficiency and productivity for those who used the technology. The brothers began discussing opportunities, and Nick asked DeSarno to lead the spin-off of the software into its own venture.

On Nov. 1, 2022, DeSarno became CEO of the newly formed Verfico Technology. “I hired a chief technology officer, a bunch of engineers, and we began reengineering the product,” he shares. Now, about a year into things, Verfico Technology boasts 6,000 users—and DeSarno dreams of more. “In year two, I’m aiming to triple our user base and triple our revenue,” he says.  

But that’s just the beginning of opportunities for DeSarno and Verfico. “We’re in construction right now, but there’s applicability for our tool in many other markets,” he says. “We can serve anywhere with multi-tiered labor or hourly workers in industries like security, janitorial services, engineering, transportation, retail, food services, or warehousing.”

The entrepreneur also has plans for a seed funding round and aspires to take on institutional capital. “I’m bringing a level of intensity to this job that mirrors my time with the FBI,” he says with an intense stare. “This is just my new high-stakes mission.”  

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