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Smile Identity, a significant player providing ID verification and KYC compliance for African faces and identities, highlights this trend has raised USD 20 M in Series B funding to further its expansion plans, among other roadmap activities. Silicon Valley investor Costanoa Ventures, co-led the round with Africa-focused venture capital firm Norrsken22. Lexi Novitske, general partner at Norrsken22, will join the company’s Board. Participating investors include existing ones such as ValueStream Ventures, Intercept Ventures, Latitude, Future Africa and 500 Fintech, and new backers like Commerce Ventures, Courtside Ventures and Two Culture Capital.
Smile Identity helps clients mitigate fraud and onboard new customers more efficiently. The startup has a combination of different products: identity verification, digital KYC, user onboarding, liveness checks, face verification, document verification and anti-fraud checks, but most importantly, identity data deduplication. The deduplication product guarantees that when the end customers sign to a client’s platform, they are mandated to take a selfie at onboarding against their IDs, making it easier to identify the customer better using their faces and reject subsequent new sign-ups in the case of fraud.
The funding will help accelerate the development and adoption of its AI-powered identity verification tech, ramp up hiring efforts in East, Southern and West Africa with a focus on product and engineering, and expand into new markets, particularly Francophone and Arab-speaking countries.