This Crystal City Start-Up Has Beautiful Space—and Will Track Down Your Cheating Spouse

Trustify is like Uber for private investigators.
This Crystal City Start-Up Has Beautiful Space—and Will Track Down Your Cheating Spouse
All photos by Anice Hoachlander, of Hoachlander Davis Photography.

Wanna find out if the guy you met on Bumble is really as perfect as he seems? You might consider signing up with Trustify. The Crystal City start-up offers users private investigators on-demand, anywhere in the country. The company’s president Jennifer Mellon says some clients are who you might expect—like husbands and wives who suspect their spouse is cheating, and parents searching for runaway teens—but because of Trustify’s relatively affordable, by-the-hour pricing, it’s also used for more casual investigations. People who want to vet their online dates, contractors, or potential business partners use it, as do parents who want extra info on the new nanny. The company also does pro bono work for survivors of domestic violence who need PI help.

Clients log in online or use a smartphone app to get matched with a PI, based on where the investigator is located and his or her area of expertise. Users can handle everything remotely, and never have to meet in-person with the investigator. Mellon says Trustify’s network includes about 7,000 PIs, many of whom previously worked for the FBI or CIA. Pricing tops out at $99 an hour.

Mellon started Trustify with her husband Danny Boice two years ago. The company has since grown to 40 full-time employees and just moved into 8,000 square feet of new space in Crystal City. Architecture firm Wingate Hughes designed the office. Principal Gavin Daniels says the idea was to give a “tongue-in-cheek” nod to the world of PIs by invoking a film noir vibe in the design. The architects also aimed to make the place feel as much like home as work, and highlight its sweeping view of the DC skyline.

Mellon says she wanted to avoid the cliches of a tech start-up: “We don’t need a beer pong table and video games,” she says. “But we do have two nursing mother rooms and a relaxing library. I have the smartest team in the world. They’d rather have that than sit around and play beer pong. It’s just not the culture of our company.”

Take a look for yourself.

 

A cut-out in the kitchen ceiling is covered with copper tile.
The office has views of the Washington monument and Capitol dome.
The black and white pendant lights are from Schoolhouse Electric.
Private meeting rooms, as well as two rooms for nursing mothers, are hidden behind paneled walls. The animal head busts are from Etsy, and were rigged to light up when the rooms are in use.
Because the company is still a start-up, the architects had to be cost conscious. They used budget-friendly vinyl flooring, installed in a herringbone pattern, rather than hardwood.
LED lights snap onto the ceiling grid, for a modern look.
The library is meant to be a cozy hangout for staff and clients.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She was previously a reporter for Legal Times and the National Law Journal. She lives in Northeast DC with her husband, two dogs, and two cats.