Startup Spotlight: Identiq

Welcoming Identiq to FinTech Connect!

Twitter Handle: @identiqprotocol

Management/Leadership team:

Itay Levy, CEO and Co-founder

Ido Shilon, CTO and Co-founder

Uri Arad, VP Product and Co-founder

Shmuli Goldberg, CMO

Founded: September 2018

Tell us about yourself: Identiq is a young startup company set to change the $12B Identity Verification market. Unlike traditional identity verification vendors, the Identiq protocol can validate a new end-user without asking its customers to expose any user data whatsoever, setting a new standard for end-user privacy. Identiq is bringing together like-minded companies to form the first fully anonymous global identity verification network. This will allow companies to onboard new customers with confidence, while reducing false positives, increasing approval rates and creating a better user experience. This technology can also be used for funding source validation, fast withdrawal, password recovery flows, and other high-risk activity validation. Founded in 2018 in Tel Aviv, Identiq is made up of a team of high-tech and risk management veterans, each bringing over 20 years of experience to the company.

Why did you choose FinTech Connect?: FinTech Connect has an excellent reputation as a meeting point for both major financial players and new startups, encouraging and sharing information about innovation and discussing the big questions that touch fintech, and the payments world more generally, in a fast-changing world.

What's your 'origin story'?
Identiq was born out of the desire to combine what seemed like two mutually exclusive priorities. On the one hand, companies want to fight fraud through collaboration, knowing that working together makes them stronger and better able to combat the highly collaborative online criminal underworld. On the other hand, the need to protect the privacy of users’ data means that many kinds of collaboration are blocked as they would require the sharing of user data. Identiq was founded to change that. With Identiq companies can use F.A.I.R. technology to compare data and validate users and account details without sharing any data at all.

Where and how do you differentiate yourselves against the growing FinTech start-up demographic?
We’re the first to have developed a way for companies to validate identities without having to share data. Identity validation is a huge challenge for organizations today, given the high rate of fraud attacks and their increasing sophistication. However many of the ways companies validate identities require sharing user data. Widespread consumer concern over data privacy is a relatively new development, but companies are realizing now that the world has changed. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook use dropped 20% - and it hasn’t recovered. Companies are becoming aware that being sensitive to data privacy and being able to show that they’re not exposing their users’ data by sharing it with third parties is suddenly a competitive advantage. Post-GDPR, and with similar legislation under way in various states in the U.S., getting ahead on these issues is also a way to future-proof a business against future regulatory changes. Identiq is unique in being able to help companies validate users in a way that finally puts privacy first.

What are your goals for the next 18 months?
To start introducing the F.A.I.R. technology and network as widely as possible. We believe that the current method of identity validation, which relies on sharing data with third parties, is broken. We want to tell the world that there’s now a better way, and that they can be a part of revolutionizing the way it’s done.

What is your greatest achievement as business thus far?
The development of F.A.I.R. technology, which allows businesses to compare data without sharing anything at all. It required a completely new way of thinking to combine existing, battle-tested math and encryption methods. Identiq does not use blockchain, which we believe is a poor technology choice for identity because it necessitates data proliferation and ensures that personal data will be on the network, a tempting target for thieves, effectively forever. F.A.I.R. technology protects companies and consumers by ensuring that no data is copied or transferred at all. Each member of the network keeps their own data and does not share it. Identiq, which is not a member of the network, has no access to the user data of the network members. F.A.I.R. also ensures anonymous identity validation. Network members who send a query can validate data points, but they will not know who on the network sent responses and the network, on the other hand, will not know who placed the query or what the nature of the query was. It’s true privacy, built in as the foundation of the F.A.I.R. technology.

What's been your greatest challenge in growth to date?
Explaining that F.A.I.R. technology really isn’t too good to be true. Once people have signed an NDA we take them through the whole explanation, leaving them wowed, but it’s hard to gain their belief before that because people are still in the mindset that valuable collaboration has to mean sharing data.

Why should our community come and meet you at the show?
All companies today need to validate identities. All companies ought to be thinking about how they can protect their users’ data privacy. With Identiq, they can do both at once. Identity validation is more accurate because they will have access to the fresh data of the network rather than the less reliable sources of third party data vendors, which in turn enables faster validation and better user experience. Privacy is assured because no data ever leaves the network members. On top of which, since network members receive credits for validating as well as use them to send queries, companies with large databases will find that using F.A.I.R. technology is inexpensive and sometimes even free.

How have you funded your growth to date?
Seed round - $5 million, May 28 2019

Register for FinTech Connect on 3–4 December at ExCeL, London.