Smile Identity, an African-focused firm that uses artificial intelligence (AI) developed for African features and identities to enable ID verification and KYC compliance, has raised $7 million in Series A funding to improve its services and expand into other markets.
Smile Identity was founded in 2017 with the goal of making it simple for Africans to confirm their identity online fast and easily, as well as providing businesses with the tools and software they need to streamline client onboarding, verify identities, and combat fraud.
Costanoa Ventures led the round, which raised over $11 million in total. Other investors included CRE Venture Capital, Local Globe, Intercept Ventures, Future Africa Ventures, Khosla Impact ValueStream Ventures, Beta Ventures, 500 Startups, and Story Ventures. John Cowgill of Costanoa will join Smile Identity’s board of directors as part of this round.
Fintech companies such as Paystack, Kudabank and Binance are among the company’s customers.
Smile Identity’s staff is made up of people from 12 countries, including eight African countries, with subsidiaries, branch offices, and engineers in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, and beyond.
The new funding will be used to strengthen the company’s services, expand into new areas, extend support for more ID kinds, and hire more engineers and support staff throughout Africa.
Smile Identity collaborates with local ID authorities to develop a platform that combines ID validation with patented face verification and liveness checks to allow non-surveillance, consent-based access, and financial inclusion for a new generation of African businesses.
Every month, the company conducts over one million identity checks across Africa, and its software is utilized in banking, fintech, ride sharing, employee verification, government social assistance programs, and telecoms.