Selfie biometric authentication provider Smile Identity has closed a $7 million Series A funding round to advance its aim of unifying Africa’s ID verification and KYC compliance infrastructure to make it easy for Africans to prove their identity online, the company announced in a blog post.
The company claims the funding round is one of the largest ever for an Africa-focused digital identity verification company.
“At Smile Identity, we believe one of the keys to unlocking Africa’s inherent potential is universal digital identity. Solving this will lead to faster economic growth for Africa,” writes Smile Identity Head of Marketing Ashiwel Okang Ochui. “This is why our new round of funding is so important. This new capital will help us expand into more markets, add support for more ID types, build custom consent layers compatible with local data privacy legislation, support users without smart-phones, and hire more Engineers across Africa to help us achieve our vision.”
The potential that could be unlocked includes contributions of $180 billion from the online economy by 2025, and up to $710 billion by 2025, the Ochui writes, citing World Bank statistics.
Smile says one in three Africans struggle to prove their identity to access services, and that people across the continent spend too much time verifying their identity for travel or business even when they do hold formal IDs.
Smile provides a platform combining ID validation, proprietary biometric facial authentication and liveness checks. It offers this platform to the next generation of African technology companies in order to make Africa’s new and legacy ID systems accessible and useful to them, while providing strong security, meeting compliance requirements, and enabling local consent.
Australian cybersecurity company buys into Daltrey
Daltrey has received an investment from the investment arm of publicly-traded cybersecurity company Tesserent, which could grow with incentives and options to AU$11.7 million (approximately US$8.7 million), according to CRN Australia.
Tesserent Innovation is investing $600,000 ($446,000) in Daltrey under the initial portion of a Share Subscription Agreement. If Daltrey reaches key performance indicators, an additional $1.1 million ($820,000) will be invested, giving Tesserent a 7 percent share in the biometrics provider. This valuates Daltrey at roughly $24.3 million ($18.1 million).
Options to support global expansion could add another $10 million ($7.4 million).
“We’re very excited about the growth in the biometric security market,” states Tesserent Co-CEO Julian Challingsworth. “We note some U.S. private equity organisations have been investing in the market with a recent investment of $543M into Transmit Security, supporting our belief that biometrics will play a key role in security organisations’ data and systems in the near term.”
Daltrey will work with Tesserent to provide biometric technology to Australia’s Federal Government.
The company also announced a funding round it says was successful, though declining to specify the amount raised, just under a year ago.