Contactless transactions have become an important priority when people around the world minimize contact with others outside their homes to slow down the often insidious spread of the novel corona virus. However, if the consumer has recently focused mainly on payments or deliveries, it is overlooked that the “contactless” paradigm has been a big trend for years.
Today, a London-based startup building tool announces virtual identity verification, a way to verify you without the need for personal, personal interaction, and announces a large round of funding.
Onfido uses AI to “read” a person’s ID documents, and then uses facial recognition and other data points to verify that a person is who they say they are online. Customers for their technology include major banks, government agencies, and corporate recruiting: every organization that virtually performs parts of their processes today announces that it has raised $ 100 million.
It is planned to use the money in different ways. First, to expand the existing business, which has grown particularly strongly in the United States. Second, to achieve the goal of building an alternative layer to the “identity verification” of the Internet that replaces credit bureaus, Facebook logins and other established channels. And third, to work on a number of new use cases that are being talked about even more because of the pandemic. These range from virtual polls and passport / visa applications to secure methods of contact tracking to track the spread of a virus without compromising user privacy.
Ultimately, in all three cases, the goal is to solve what is seen as a long-standing problem on the Internet and on digital platforms as a whole: to check who the people they say they are, and all of them Way that does not affect a user’s privacy and security.
“Identity is broken and needs to be fixed,” said Husayn Kassai, CEO and co-founder, on an Internet. “That was a big part of our focus, and over time our processes in the areas of digitization, data protection and security have proven themselves in parallel with the change in the world.”
The round is led by TPG Growth, a low-budget company that supports companies like Airbnb and Uber (both run companies that need the identity verification services needed by Onfido builds) with billions of dollars in investments over the years.
Onfido does not announce its rating this round, but Kassai confirmed that it is definitely an upward trend. Onfido has now raised a total of $ 200 million, with the final round – almost exactly a year ago, $ 50 million – among Microsoft, Salesforce and SBI (once a SoftBank partner, now apparently separate) among investors.
Kassai said that he started increasing this round in January, just as the novel coronavirus was launched in China and eventually all over the world. The last phases of this deal were all done virtually. Between then and now, he said that the business – which is already growing with healthy growth – has taken on a new, pressing set of industries that need to consider faster and more secure methods of identifying and verifying users.
To date, Onfido’s business has primarily focused on helping companies such as transport-on-demand companies scale quickly to include more drivers in their books while ensuring that they pass all safety and other checks. More recently, healthcare, referral, and payments organizations, as well as nonprofits that screen people who volunteer to help, have emerged as key customers. These have increased 4x, 1.3x and 6x in the past few weeks. The idea is that organizations using Onfido can shorten the time it takes to identify people, enroll them in health services, send money, or help those in need.
“Approximately 750,000 people have volunteered to help the NHS in the UK,” he said, referring to the UK government’s efforts to get more people to deliver medicines and food, and to help hospitals in non-clinical capacity. “This is great, but why wait for weeks to be checked? If you can sign up for a bank in a few moments, why do you have to wait a week? [or more] help in a health crisis? “
While Onfido continues to expand this aspect of its business – R & D based in London and much of the business team in California – Kassai says it is also working on trials with new types of identity and verification services that are still in development.
Essentially, these are non-physical verification concepts that have been considered for some time for other reasons – be it more convenient for users, reduce costs, or maintain better digital records of a process – that have been adopted a new one Sense of urgency during the current pandemic.
In particular, attempts are currently underway to work on secure, virtual coordination. Assistance in checking people for passport and visa applications remotely; and ways to track users’ contacts for those trying to track and contain outbreaks of the novel corona virus or the next on the horizon.
The idea with these, Kassai said, is that there has to be a way to identify users without having to share personal or other sensitive details every time, and this is where the company’s ambition to build an “identity layer” comes into play: if a company like Onfido can verify a user once and then discard the information. You can then simply have a record of the person and not need documents or other personal information every time.
At least that’s the theory. There will be a number of regulated industries that must continue to hold personal data. But at a time when security breaches have wiped out our various personal information and led to a big wave of online crime, identity fraud is the most common crime committed in the U.S. and one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, according to Onfido, given the resulting money laundering $ 2 trillion, this could be a convincing idea.
“Onfido’s use of AI to develop market leading technologies is exceptional,” said Mike Zappert, partner of TPG Growth, in a statement. “There is tremendous demand for secure and easy identity verification and authentication in all key sectors, and we see Onfido becoming the new standard for digital access. Your team has done remarkable work in a relatively short space of time, and we look forward to working with them to continue their momentum in new use cases and regions. “