Inarguably, we could say 2021 was an amazing year for startups, compensating for the impact given by 2020, which pushed the tech sector to innovate at a commendable speed.
Among other sectors, right now, we focus on the Digital Identity Management sector, which has become extremely important, as among several reasons, some moves of the federal government of Nigeria call its necessity.
FG has ditched NIN slip for digital tokenisation
Towards the end of the year 2021, the FG introduced a suite of digital Tokens to replace the aging NIN slip and polycarbonate card to ensure privacy of personal identifiable information of individuals during verification transactions and to reduce incidences of illegal retrieval, usage, transfer, and storage of NIN.
Need for FG to embrace partnership with the startups to make digital identity robust
Hold on a second, this greatly calls for a synchronisation between the FG and Digital Identification Management startups as only experts in the field can enable the government achieve its identity security goal for the people.
The significance of Public-Private Partnership can never be over emphasised. Research shows that this speeds up project implementation and completion, ultimately ensuring the attainment of set objectives.
The high rate of digitisation boosted the need for this sector. While innovation increased, cybercrime didn’t hold back and the Know Your Customer (KYC) process of identification and verification became extra mandatory for public and private organisations. Now the FG is innovating to make lives better.
Companies took digital transformation and its issues upon themselves, making the process seamless and secure. To mention a few, these companies include VerifyMe, YouVerify, Seamfix, IdentityPass, OkHi, iiDENTIFii, Smile Identity, Appruve, CarbonIVS and Shuftipro, all in Africa.
VerifyMe is Nigeria’s fastest growing identity verification company, attaining more than 10x growth in 2021. The company is the first to get direct access to government data sources including Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank Verification Number (BVN), and Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). VerifyMe’s proprietary address verification service, Verifind, is the most robust locationing solution in Nigeria.
It is backed by 4D GIS geotagging technology and complemented with over 30k last mile verification agents spread across the country. VeriFind has completed over 700k address verifications since introduction in 2020.
The company can be trusted to provide your driver’s license, adequate KYC infrastructure for interoperability of KYC data across industries and employers, enable Nigerian companies make informed hiring decisions, promote transparency and make workers and customers accountable.
In 2021, the company was listed as notable startup and ecosystem champion in the StartUp Blink report, and hit over 1,000% growth in Q3 2021, among other achievements.
TechEconomy.ng’s findings show VerifyMe crashed the price of address verification by over 300%.
Another Nigerian company thriving in the sector is YouVerify, on a mission to build economic relationships and trust among Africans, defeating the fear of fraud and compliance difficulties.
The company enables secured identity for individuals, provides verification tools for businesses and governments to optimise social programmes and speeds up the KYC process. Its products include the YouVerify Operating System, vForms, YOUID, to mention a few.
Last year, YouVerify was among companies selected by VC4A for Seed and Series A Showcase. So far, the company has raised over $1,500,000 in funding from investors including LoftyInc Capital Management, Orange Ventures, Outlierz Ventures, VilCap Investments and Chinook Capital Limited.
Lagos-based Seamfix provides innovative tech solutions for identity management, automation and others, enabling business growth and customer satisfaction.
The company’s approach to offering the biometric data capture platform as a service has made biometric enrollment projects seamless.
Certified by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), among others, the company has gained recognition even outside the African continent.
In 2019, the London stock exchange group (LSEG) recognised Seamfix as a leader in identity management solutions.
Having raised $360,000 in November 2021, IdentityPass is well-positioned to thrive further in the sector leveraging an application programming interface (API).
The Nigerian KYC verification company was founded just last year but is already making waves. Enabling businesses to gain customer trust, IdentityPass enables individuals and businesses to securely access anyone through existing Identification Numbers and facial recognition.
Recently, an amazing announcement was made by the startup; its selection to participate in the YCombinator winter 2022 batch was a great way to end the year.
Having launched in Nigeria recently, Kenya’s OkHi is one estimable startup in the sector. The company’s smart addressing system enables businesses collect accurate customer addresses without stress, ensuring navigation without confusion and making verifications possible digitally.
The beauty is that these verifications can be done using a smartphone, conquering the stress brought about by the manual process and functions across various sectors including health, education, the food sector, among others.
Backed by Interswitch, Google, Betatron and Founders Factory Africa, OkHi has raised over $2,000,000 and is targeting financial services inclusion across the African continent.
South Africa’s iiDENTIFii leverages technology to authenticate physical identities securely and in real-time.
With biometrics, facial verifications, and data validation, iiDENTIFii operates through a secure triangulated authentication system.
The company has been accredited by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), ISO, GDPR, Whistle Blowers, Risk X and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
In July last year, iiDENTIFii was selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs and the first South African team to join Endeavor in 2021. Among several awards, the company won the Best Enterprise Solution for its biometric digital authentication and automated onboarding solution at the 2021 MTN App of the Year awards.
7. Smile Identity
Smile Identity provides ID verification and KYC compliance for Africans using face and other forms of recognition systems.
Last year, the company closed a $7 million Series A funding round with investors such as Costanoa Ventures, CRE Venture Capital, LocalGlobe, Intercept Ventures, Future Africa, Khosla Impact, ValueStream Ventures, Beta Ventures, 500 Startups and Story Ventures, and angel investors.
Having raised more than $11,000,000 so far, Smile Identity covers over 250,000,000 identities and verification for 15 different ID types while performing over one million identity checks every month.
Companies leveraging its platform include payments companies such as Paystack, Paga and Chipper Cash; neobanks including Kuda and Umba; traditional banks like Stanbic IBTC; cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, Luno and Paxful; and supply-chain businesses like Twiga.
Ghana’s Appruve connects to multiple sets of data including identity data, financial account data as well as fraud data and utilizes machine learning to make the process of identity verification hiccup-free.
The company enables users verify and transform customer data into insights for use cases such as lending, credit scoring, personal finance management and detection of fraudulent actors.
The company is connected to 15 identity databases in 5 countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Egypt, with a goal to expand into other countries.
Based in Nigeria, Carbon has built CarbonIVS as an Identity Verification System designed to help businesses maintain KYC compliance, fight fraud and onboard customers faster.
CarbonIVS enables the verification of BVN, passport, drivers license, voters ID, National ID (NIN) and NIMC Slip.
Leveraging data science and machine learning, the CarbonIVS data analysis engine enables the generation of an estimated Personality Profile report for an individual and sends it to the requesting organisation.
Ensuring risk mitigation, fraud prevention, compliance and more, the company is trusted by reputable companies including Cars45, Wallet.ng, Kudi, among others.
10. Shufti Pro
Shufti Pro provides real-time solutions to enable remote authentication for businesses across Nigeria, document authentication across 36 states to help with KYC for Nigeria and to avoid Identity Theft online, address verification, customer onboarding with two-factor authentication, real-time customer and transaction verification with biometric consent and Anti Money Laundering (AML) Screening services for Nigerian banks and businesses.
The company is certified by PCI DSS Compliance, GDPR, Cyber Essential and GDPR QG.
The platform can also be used for National Identity Cards issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), passports, driving license, credit and debit cards, among other verifications.