South African online verification startup ThisIsMe has raised US$2.5 million in funding from private investors, and is planning to use the cash to expand into African and international markets.
Launched in 2014, ThisIsMe, which is available on iOS and Android, allows a user to prove their identity and that they are still alive in order to prevent fraud such as identity theft. It has a focus on compliance related to the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) in the financial space.
The service verifies an individual’s identity to other individuals, businesses, financial institutions and regulators, by using links to South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs and major banks.
Having secured the US$2.5 million funding round, ThisIsMe is now setting its sights on expanding into African and international markets this year.
“We are planning to enter at least three different regions this year and progress in terms of expanding into two of these countries – Australia and New Zealand – is very advanced,” said ThisIsMe chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Chirnside.
“On the African front, we are in talks with a potential partner in Nigeria. Nigeria represents a particularly demanding market, and confidence among ThisIsMe staff is high that their processes will aid Nigeria’s specific challenges.”
The startup also has plans to expand to the United States (US) and Europe, while since its launch over 20 corporates have signed up to use ThisIsMe’s solutions to verify the identities of their clients.
“This includes two banks, one from the ‘top five’ in South Africa; three insurance companies; fund managers; and human resources businesses,” Chirnside said.
“Currently, South Africans are using the ThisIsMe app for FICA purposes and to avoid the hassle of paperwork and duplicated effort in this regard. They are also actively verifying each other using the early releases of our mobile apps. In the long-term, however, I hope to see this technology become ubiquitous in South Africa and even be used for hassle-free voting online one day.”
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