Here is a list of the top 7 identity verification and KYC startups in Africa

Godfrey Elimian
Top 8 identity verification and KYC startups leading the way in Africa
Top 8 identity verification and KYC startups leading the way in Africa

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, identity verification and proper know-your-customer (KYC) protocols are essential. This is because businesses and organisations rely on verified data to function efficiently and effectively.

This is particularly true in Africa, a continent characterised by a significant portion of its population lacking formal identification. The World Bank estimates that 57% of Africans still don’t have a bank account of any type, including a mobile money account, as Africa accounts for half of the people in the world who have no means of identification.

Official identification is crucial for financial institutions, governments, and businesses implementing KYC protocols. KYC startups or perhaps, KYC is an important aspect of regulatory and anti-fraud measures that plays a key role in establishing trust in the digital economy. Without trust, the digital economy cannot reach its full potential.

In the face of this major challenge, Africa is experiencing a surge of innovation with tech startups at the forefront of revolutionizing KYC and identity verification. These startups are on a mission to bridge the gap in identification, making it possible for people to access financial services and government programs, and to engage in various forms of online business.

Read also: Only 15% of Nigerians use social media but the CBN demands that banks verify handles as a KYC requirement

In this article, we will explore the eight foremost identity verification and KYC startups in Africa, helping businesses, governments, and organisations manage and identify their customers, as well as curtail fraud by ensuring proper KYC protocols.

1. VerifyMe, Nigeria

Verifyme was founded in 2013 by Olutunji Oluwole as a biometric enrollment and data capture provider but obtained an identity verification license in 2017. The company addresses the urgent need for fraud detection in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.

Leveraging facial recognition technology, VerifyMe enables banks to conduct contactless account opening and onboarding while offering credit score services to financial institutions during the loan approval process.

Top 8 identity verification and KYC startups leading the way in Africa

VerifyMe was the first Nigerian identity startup to get direct access to government data sources, including the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank Verification Number (BVN), and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Led by Esigie Aguele, VerifyMe’s proprietary address verification service, Verifind is a robust location verification solution in Nigeria. It is backed by 4D GIS geotagging technology and complemented with over 30k last-mile verification agents spread across the country. Moreover, their OneIdentity report facilitates a know-your-employee process by drawing on the largest work history database in Nigeria.

Similar: VerifyMe unveils new digital Identity and consumer analytics solution for businesses and announces regional expansion

Other solutions offered by the startup include identity verification, address verification, employee & staff verification, enrollment services, and guarantor verification. The startup has raised a total of $5 million in funding.

2. iiDENTIFii, South Africa

Founded in 2018 by Gur Geva and Marco Wagener, iiDENTIFii has been on a mission to provide cutting-edge identity verification solutions to meet the diverse needs of the African continent.

The company offers an array of services, from facial recognition to document verification, to help businesses and organisations establish the identity of their customers securely and efficiently.

Top 8 identity verification and KYC startups leading the way in Africa

The platform caters not only to financial institutions but also to government agencies and a wide range of enterprises, ensuring compliance with KYC regulations and safeguarding against fraud.

The company has been accredited by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), ISO, GDPR, Whistle Blowers, Risk X and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

3. Smile ID, Nigeria

Founded in 2017 by Mark Straub, Smile ID is a startup that specialises in identity verification for Africa. Despite the absence of universal IDs on the continent, the company offers real-time digital KYC, identity verification, and user authentication services.

A picture of the Smile Identity team in 2019
A picture of the Smile Identity team in 2019

Leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence, Smile Identity provides solutions that are customised for African faces, including face detection, verification, and deduplication. Although the company is based in the US, its focus on Africa’s unique identity verification needs makes it a valuable and innovative player in the region.

Having raised more than $31,000,000 so far, Smile Identity covers over 250,000,000 identities and verification for 15 different ID types across Africa. The company claims to be performing over one million identity checks every month.  It is backed by Costanoa Ventures, Future Africa, PTB Ventures, Khosla Impact, 500 Startups, CRE Venture Capital, and more.

4. Identitypass, Nigeria

Founded in 2021 by Lanre Ogungbe, Niyi Adegboye, and David Obi, IdentityPass is on a mission to enhance digital compliance and security in Africa. In response to the growing threat of identity theft, this startup provides businesses with a platform to validate customer identities.

Prembly announces game-changing business verification tools at CES 2023

Read also: On accidental discovery and how Identitypass is helping over 400 African businesses navigate KYC bottlenecks

The Nigerian startup serves brands in FinTech, insurance, mobility, e-commerce, HR management, cryptocurrency, and other sectors. IdentityPass is live in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa.

The startup has so far raised a total of $3.2 million with investors which include Midlothian Angel Network, D Global Ventures, Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, and others. It currently powers Nigeria’s “3 Million Technical Talent Program (3MTT)” by the Nigerian Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.

In 2022, Identitypass was named the Fastest Growing KYC and Verification Company of the Year in the 2022 edition of the BusinessDay Nigerian Business Leadership Awards.

5. YouVerify, Nigeria

YouVerify was founded by Gbenga Odegbami in 2017. Youverify is an identity verification and data management startup that helps businesses automate compliance decisions through KYC and AML solutions.

Using artificial intelligence, Youverify confirms a user’s identity document and compares it with their facial biometrics. This information can be cross-checked against more than 300 databases locally and globally. YouVerify in partnership with over 20,000 field verification officers, verifies physical addresses all over Sub-Saharan Africa in less than 48 hours.

YouVerify makes RegTech100 list of most innovative companies for 2023

The solutions offered include identity verification, address verification, background checks, know your customers, know your business, know your employees, know your transactions, workflow automation, fraud detection, and transaction monitoring.

Its product offerings include the YouVerify Operating System, vForms, and YOUID, to mention a few.

Youverify has raised $2.5 million funding.

6. ThisIsMe, South Africa

ThisIsMe is a South African KYC and identity company founded in 2013 by David Thomas, Juan Furmie, and Nadeem Shahid. The company offers a comprehensive identity verification and onboarding solution.

They employ trusted global sources, biometrics, and social media data to identify people in real time. The company also specialises in verifying corporate and business entities, covering incorporation information, financial licences, creditworthiness, and more.

ThisIsMe enable businesses to reduce fraud, automate KYC checks, improve onboarding, and increase revenue while providing an on-demand, seamless customer experience. They have successfully streamlined onboarding and KYC requirements for major corporations, which include Old Mutual, Stanlib, Sanlam, Marriot and BET.co.za.

The company has so far raised $2.5 million across all funding rounds.

7. Bace Group, Ghana

BACE Group Ghana was founded by Arinze Christopher, Charlette Desire, Jean Cedric Attiembonon, and Samuel Sowah Mensah in 2018. The KYC and identity verification company offers financial institutions and various organizations a solution that enables due diligence through facial recognition.

The platform is revolutionizing customer experience through its application programming interface (APIs) that secures client identity and KYC data with OCR and facial recognition technology.

With it, users can take a selfie, which is cross-referenced with their official ID to verify their identity. The company also provides an API service, allowing businesses to configure their own identification checks.

Also, the platform employs artificial intelligence in processing the data they collect, making the verification process more robust and efficient.

So far, the company has raised a total of $100K in funding. Some of BACE Group’s Investors are Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).


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