Africa-focused ID Verification Company, Smile Identity, Raises US$7m in Series A Funding


Smile Identity, a company that provides ID verification and KYC compliance for African faces and identities through artificial intelligence (AI), has secured US$7 million in Series A funding.

The company stated that the funding would be used to improve its services, and expand into more markets.

The funding round was led by Costanoa Ventures and pan-African venture firm, CRE Venture Capital.

Other participating investors include venture capital company like LocalGlobe, Intercept Ventures, Future Africa and unnamed angel investors.

Existing investors like Khosla Impact, ValueStream Ventures, Beta Ventures, 500 Startups and Story Ventures, also participated in the funding round.

Founded in 2017 by Mark Straub and William Bares, Smile Identity aims at making it easy for Africans anywhere to prove their identity online, and provide businesses with the tools and software they need to automate customer onboarding, verify identities, and prevent fraud.

Smile Identity works with local ID authorities, and has built a platform that combines ID validation with proprietary face verification and liveness checks to support non-surveillance, consent-based access and financial inclusion.

People could easily do things like KYC to sign a document digitally, to share or federate documents across a company or school, to prove a birth certificate, or to prove an educational credential. It really unleashed this wave of innovation, entrepreneurship activity and fundamentally changed financial services and eventually share economy services in India,” Mark Straub told TechCrunch.

The company claims it performs over one million identity checks every month, across Africa. Smile Identity added that its software is used in banking, fintech, ride-sharing, worker verification, public social welfare programmes, and telecommunications.

Read also: Kenyan AgriTech Startup – Apollo – Secures US$1m Debt Funding from ABC Funds

With the recently concluded US$7 million Series A round, Smile Identity’s total funding has climbed over US$11 million.

We believe anyone should be able to prove their identity easily, anywhere in the world and that access to a modern digital lifestyle should not depend on the origin of your ID card or IP address,” said Mark Straub, Smile Identity’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO).

Smile Identity’s growing team is made up of people from 12 countries, including 8 African nation like Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and more.

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