In an expanding fintech market like that of Africa, the significance of KYC and identity verification cannot be overstated. Strict regulatory standards are required as dozens of financial institutions serve millions of Africans, which is why investor interest in businesses providing KYC and identity verification services is escalating. This trend is highlighted by Smile Identity, a key operator that offers ID verification and KYC compliance for African faces and identities. It just secured $20 million in Series B funding, among other things, to further its roadmap objectives.
In July 2021, the firm disclosed a $7 million Series A financing. Since Mark Straub and William Bares launched the African KYC onboarding and identity verification platform, investors have contributed more than $30 million. The biometric deduplication engine, also known as our “smart selfie” and our facial recognition technology, can be utilized for authentication and deduplication processes, according to Straub.
The six-year-old business performed more than 1 million identification checks each month. It had access to more than 250 million individuals and could verify 15 different types of ID across six African markets. According to the chief executive, Smile Identity’s capabilities have expanded with the recent introduction of its Document Verification solution, and it can now cover a billion identities and verification processes internationally.
Straub pointed out that Smile Identity processed over 30 million identification verifications in 2021, which was another area of growth. The Series B funding infusion means Smile Identity still has work to do, but its smaller rivals (Youverify and YC-backed Identitypass and Dojah) may find it difficult to overtake the Costanoa-backed startup as the industry leader.
While Straub acknowledges that Smile Identity has an advantage as a sort of early adopter with deep connections and local expertise, having launched years before other startups, the company is a market leader due to “an incredibly diverse team and best-in-class technology,” according to Straub. The company is now present in over 10 countries after recently opening offices in London and Cape Town.