Kaarel Kotkas writes about the journey of Veriff, from the birth of the idea to our recently announced Series B funding of $69 million which will allow us to continue building the infrastructure for trust online.
I was first exposed to the issues surrounding identity verification more than 10 years ago when making a purchase online. I don’t condone this behavior, but at the time I was alarmed by how easy it was to change the date of my birth from 1994 to 1984 on a photo of my document to pretend I was 18 and confirm an online payment. Now this problem is present on a much larger scale and is bigger than just a falsified date of birth; a combination of increasingly sophisticated fraudsters, rising fraud rates and the emergence of deep fakes is crushing online trust during a time when more digital activity is taking place than ever before.
Veriff was founded on the belief that online identity verification can be more secure than face-to-face verification. Starting just over five years ago in Estonia, the birthplace of digital identity, where nearly all services can be accessed from a distance through a secure government-issued ID authentication online, there was no global solution that would give out identity verification answers you could trust.
Just over a year ago, the world was blinded by the pace of digital transformation. For the past 20 years we’ve been thinking that we were already quite advanced, but then the pandemic hit and all current processes were tested. It also showed how much room for improvement there is for digital services and how essential it is to establish trust from a distance to interact safely online. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic also created more opportunities for scammers to increase their fraudulent activities as organizations across industries scrambled to implement digital solutions in order to stay afloat.
The fraud rates in the financial sector tripled and demand for a stronger account recovery to replace alternative email and mobile number verifications came about. Additional verifications for buying and selling high-value goods on e-commerce sites and an increasing demand for identity verification to fight against misinformation on social media emerged.
New entrees to identity verification include telehealth companies, the education sector with remote examinations, notaries signing deals remotely, and a Fortune 500 company that partnered up with Veriff to become a fully remote company without compromising their security standards.
All in all, Veriff experienced 3X growth in our global customer base and 6X growth in ARR over the course of 2020. That’s why I’m really excited to share the news today that on the heels of this growth, we closed $69 million in Series B financing in a round led by investment firms IVP and Accel, bringing Veriff’s total funding to date to $92.8 million. Jules Maltz of IVP and Matt Weigand of Accel will also join our Board of Directors as a result of the investment and I can’t wait to work closely with them.
To realize the full potential of the digital economy, we have to fix the health of the internet.
Becoming viral and curing only symptoms of fraud and mistrust is short-sighted. The source of digital trust lies in proven identity. Trust empowers people, businesses, relationships, and breaks the glass ceiling of the internet economy, so I can't wait to see all the innovation coming online.