Wednesday 3 April 2019 1:04 pm

AI startup Onfido tops $100m investment as it closes $50m funding round led by Softbank and Salesforce

Digital identity startup Onfido today closed a $50m (£38m) funding round led by Softbank, bringing its total investment above $100m.

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Salesforce Ventures also co-led the funding round with Softbank Investments (SBI), while Microsoft’s M12 fund and existing investors also contributed.

London-headquartered Onfido will use the cash to push ahead with its expansion into Europe and south east Asia, as well as consolidating its US market position.

The AI startup’s technology allows firms like Revolut, Monzo and Zipcar to verify customer identities, with the latest funding following a £4m round led by British fund Augmentum Fintech in March, exclusively revealed by City A.M.

“We’re seeing new data breaches occur every day, resulting in millions of people’s private data ending up on the dark web,” said Husayn Kassai, chief executive and co-founder of Onfido.

“With this new funding, we can protect more businesses, in more countries – and in more ways – from the effects of fraud. We’ll also be able to expand the reach of our technology, so that people without a credit history can finally access the online services they badly need.”

Its software allows people to verify their identity with an ID document and a selfie video, with Onfido reporting the technology’s popularity has generated 342 per cent year-on-year sales growth and more than 1,500 customers worldwide.

Its usage has surged as companies and individuals seek to protect themselves against the rising threat of data breaches.

Augmentum Fintech chief executive Tim Levene said of the news: “Digital identity verification is one of the key growth areas within fintech, where both incumbents and emerging players are all focusing significant energies.

“We believe Onfido will soon underpin much of the [business-to-consumer] fintech ecosystem and ultimately become the global leader in this space.”

A total of 3.3bn data records were accessed illegally in the first half of 2018, according to cyber security firm Gemalto’s Breach Level Index.

Meanwhile, McKinsey estimates the identity verification market will hit $20bn by 2022, leaving Onfido in a prime spot to benefit.

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SBI executive officer Tomoyuki Nii said the startup is well placed to “solidify” a leading position in identity verification.

“We chose to invest in Onfido because they have proven their expertise at using artificial intelligence to effectively fight fraud, giving businesses a safe and secure way to scale their businesses online,” he added.

The latest round will also see Salesforce’s former vice chairman and existing investor, Frank van Veenendaal, join Onfido’s board.