Veriff raises $7.7 million Series A funding

Estonian identity verification startup Veriff, which hopes to be ‘Stripe for identity’, has raised $7.7 million in Series A funding.

The round was led by Mosaic Ventures, and joined by Taavet Hinrikus, Ashton Kutcher, Paul Buchheit, Elad Gil, Y-Combinator, SV Angel, ACE Ventures, LIFT99 and Superangel. It immediately followed Veriff’s graduation from Y Combinator’s W18 batch. According to Veriff’s press release, the round brings total investment in the company to $8.4 million.

Both Taavet Hinrikus and Mosaic’s Simon Levene will be joining Veriff’s board.

“Literally, we are the Stripe for identity, allowing any website and mobile device to verify drivers’ license, passport or government issued ID,” said Kaarel Kotkas, founder and CEO of Veriff. “Identity verification services were accessible only to large corporations due to high integration costs. Our mission is to build bridges of trust within global online communities. A business can integrate our service in minutes with reasonable cost. The compatibility with the needs of SMEs is our competitive advantage, which we need to exploit.”

He says that the investment will be used to further develop its SaaS product and expand to the US market. Veriff’s development and customer service team is currently based in Tallinn, Estonia; sales and marketing operations, however, will be moved to the US.

Kotkas, who is now on his third startup, founded Veriff in 2015, at the age of 20. Its product was launched in June 2016, and now claims over 40 paying customers worldwide, including financial enterprises, marketplaces, sharing economy companies and e-commerce sites.

A key point of Veriff’s platform, Kotkas emphasises, is that it is accessible to small businesses. He claims that it is developer-friendly, and can be implemented in a matter of minutes. At present, use of the service costs €49 per month, and an additional €2 per verification.

Veriff uses live video rather than still or 3D images to verify identity, and according to Kotkas, is “more secure than physical face to face verification”. Its platform collects hundreds of data points through analysis of the live video feed, including frame by frame analysis, as well as data on the user’s device and network. This data is then analysed using machine learning to verify the user’s identity.

“We know that pictures never do the justice so instead of analysing only pictures we record everything as a video and analyse frames from the video,” said Kotkas. “Our fraud prevention has been built up combining device information, user behaviour, document validation & face comparison.”

He claims that this video-based approach results in Veriff having the highest conversion rate on the market, while remaining highly secure.

Researcher, writer, recovering medievalist. Currently particularly interested in the cybersecurity solutions market, cyber insurance/risk modelling, and IoT security.

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