Berbix raises $9 million Series A funding for its instant identity verification platform
According to a 2018 study by McKinsey, the market for ID verification-as-a-service will grow from $10 billion in 2017 to between $16 billion and $20 billion in 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the trend toward social isolation and it is more critical than ever to have a fully digital way to prove our identities. Existing solutions are typically image-based and rely on humans for subject comparison, document authenticity, and data validation. Given advances in machine learning, cell phone technology, and other innovations, the software can now detect fake IDs and other types of fraud more quickly, cheaply, and effectively than the best human screener.
Enter Berbix, a San Francisco-based tech startup and provider of an instant identity verification platform founded by former Airbnb Trust and Safety team members. Unlike the current approach to identity verification, Berbix uses sophisticated machine learning techniques to instantly spot fraud that no human eye could detect. Berbix’s solution includes an optional “liveness” check, which requires people to react to specific instructions. This ensures that a real person is present instead of a photo of that person. Berbix moves beyond the slow manual review process and error-prone automated solutions that simply extract data from an identity document, to validate IDs in 2 seconds or less.
Yesterday, Berbix announced it has raised $9 million Series A round of financing to help consumers and businesses across a number of industries verify age, fight chargebacks and deter marketplace fraud while removing operational overhead. The round was led by Mayfield, with participation from existing investors including Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, and Fika Ventures. In conjunction with the funding, Berbix also announced that Patrick Salyer, a Mayfield partner, has joined its board.
Berbix was founded in 2018 by Steve Kirkham and Eric Levine who previously led the Trust and Safety team at Airbnb. The two had a mission to make the Internet safer by providing a better and faster process for ID verification. After trying nearly every solution in the market, they decided that a new generation of ID verification solutions could replace slow, expensive, and cumbersome solutions with technology that does the job faster, and more effectively and securely. The Berbix team learned during their time at Airbnb that being able to confidently know the identity of the user behind a keyboard was a foundational problem for stopping fraud. They found that if you cannot answer that initial question, fraudsters would turn to identity theft, phishing or other circumventions to avoid accurate identification.
“The need for an instant identity verification system has grown in urgency as digital transformation has fast-forwarded a decade in our post-COVID world,” said Steve Kirkham, co-founder, and CEO of Berbix. “Growth has continued to exceed our expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This time last year, we processed the same number of verifications in a month than we do daily today. The inability to conduct traditional identity checks in person has forced organizations to move online for innumerable use cases. One example is the Family Independence Initiative, a non-profit that trusts and invests in families’ own efforts to escape poverty. Our software has enabled them to eliminate fraudulent applications and focus on the families who have been economically affected by COVID.”
The Berbix team set out to create an ID verification solution that could replace existing methods with technology that does the job faster, more effectively and securely, and that ultimately increases trust and safety. Berbix uses sophisticated machine learning techniques to instantly spot fraud that no human eye could detect. The solution includes an optional “liveness” check, which requires people to react to specific instructions. This ensures that a real person is present instead of a photo of that person. Berbix moves beyond the slow manual review process and error-prone automated solutions that simply extract data from an identity document, to validate IDs in 2 seconds or less.
“As early-stage, people-first investors, our key consideration always remains the founding team, as we build lasting partnerships,” said Salyer. “Besides Steve and Eric’s passion for making the Internet safer, they’ve delivered a better and faster ID verification solution which leverages machine learning techniques to instantly spot fraud undetectable by the human eye. Through our experience at Gigya, the leading customer identity management platform, we realized that streamlined ID solutions deliver delightful customer experiences, so we had a prepared mind on the attributes of next-generation identity solutions.”
The company’s instant identity verification platform helps consumers and businesses across a number of industries verify age, fight chargebacks, and deter marketplace fraud while removing operational overhead. Companies like Eaze use Berbix to simultaneously catch fake IDs in addition to improving a previously cumbersome and manual process. “We want to be recognized as the most trusted source for on-demand cannabis delivery,” said Kenneth Lau, Eaze’s Director of Trust & Safety, “Berbix’s ID verification process allows us to quickly convert our customers, protect customer and driver safety, and maintain our reputation as a compliant business in a highly regulated industry.”