India 3rd core market for identify verification UK tech startup
Founded by three entrepreneurs from Oxford University, Onfido helps businesses verify people’s identities digitally. Husayn Kassai, Founder & CEO, Onfido shares the success story of the London headquartered startup, which carries out checks in 192 countries for more than 1500 global customers
Onfido was founded in 2012 by three entrepreneurs from Oxford University – Husayn Kassai, Eamon Jubbawy and Ruhul Amin. The startup builds trust in an online world by helping businesses digitally verify people’s identities. “I had the idea for the business since my parents moved from Iran to the UK back when I was 10. It took them several months to be able to rent accommodation in their own name or open a bank account because as new migrants, they weren’t on any credit reference agencies. At that point I thought that credit bureaus must be magical places – but I later realised they’re just databases, and due to hacks and breaches, not very secure ones. It became clear that a better solution was needed for people to be able to verify their identities and gain access to these crucial services, and so Onfido was born,” says Husayn Kassai, Founder & CEO, Onfido.
The company has received over US$ 60m in funding from investors including M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures), Salesforce Ventures and Crunchfund and carries out checks in 192 countries for 1500 global customers including ZipCar, Couchsurfing, Revolut and Square.
Onfido now has a team of 210 across offices in London, Lisbon, San Francisco, New York, Delhi and Singapore. “We have over 70 people in our technical team and are supported by specialist investors and advisors across a range of sectors, from machine learning and fintech experts to sharing economy influencers,” states Kassai.
The startup has a commercial and operational presence in India, with the local team in New Delhi. Speaking about the India specific plans, he reveals that India is Onfido’s third core market. “So we want to power more companies as we have for Zoomcar, CoinSwitch and Indifi. It’s our goal to build a full localised presence to service our customers in the market, so we’re continuing to invest in both the commercial and operational aspects of our business there. As regulation changes, delivering new and innovative solutions is a challenge. We’re continuing to develop our Machine Learning and biometric technologies to identify fraud and help our customers scale securely,” says Kassai.
Onfido is interested in engaging with regulators like RBI, SEBI, Niti Aayoh and leading businesses across fintech, banks and sharing economy companies in India.
The company offers several identity verification solutions. These include the Document Check, which ensures that users’ identity documents have not been forged, digitally tampered with, lost or stolen, and Facial Check, which compares the photo on a user’s identity document with a selfie to make sure users are who they claim to be. Kassai adds that the technology enables organisations to perform checks on over 6000 document types, detecting anomalies automatically and using human experts to verify outliers. “Onfido solves the challenge of onboarding users digitally and at scale, whilst maintaining security and transparency in the process. This makes Onfido a great partner for business across the BFSI sector, as well as new age fintechs and on demand businesses, where in-person customer interaction is at a minimum,” mentions Kassai.
He explains that Onfido uses a hybrid approach that pairs machine learning technology with human experts. “This enable us to deliver the speed and scalability of an automated solution, but without sacrificing on completion rates. If our tech comes across an ID document or fraud type is hasn’t encountered before, it’s not rejected – instead, our human experts can step in and review,” he says, pointing out that this trains the technology to catch and keep pace with even the most sophisticated fraud as it evolves, while keeping manual review to only the edge cases where it’s really needed. It also allows Onfido to tailor its service according to the risk-based approach of the customers.
Onfido is focused on continuously developing its global capabilities. New features have been added including facial liveness, Chinese and Japanese characters and a smaller SDK, so that the company can provide an even more tailored service to its clients.
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