Husayn Kassai, who co-founded the identify verification AI-based company Onfido, told Forbes that he recognized “how broken the identification process was from quite an early age.” His parents moved to the UK from Iran when he was 10, and it took them several months to open a bank account and rent a home because they weren’t on a credit bureau.
“It excludes half of the world’s adult population without a banking relationship, people who are not on a credit bureau, and, therefore, excluded from financial services,” Husayn explained. “Those who are actually on a credit bureau don’t have the security, given that they have been compromised, and yet you’re excluding so many people, so it just seemed not really fit for purpose.”
Onfido is designed to act as an identity verification engine by “creating a more open world, where identity is the key to access.” The technology can detect if an piece of identification is real and compare it against the user’s facial biometrics — a new standard to help people easily prove their legal identity. Husayn has compared the platform to the way Facebook brought our social identities online and LinkedIn brought our professional identities into the digital age.
As a new and more efficient way to run background checks, it is being used by major companies like Google, Revolut, Deliveroo and Tesco. Husayn is aware that this technology is desired by many for its capabilities and plans for global expansion.
As of March 2019, the company has raised around $60 million in funding from sources including Microsoft’s Venture Fund, Salesforce, and the University of Oxford.