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Digital ID firms close two seeds and a series B funding round. One of them is a giant

Categories Biometric R&D  |  Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes
Digital ID firms close two seeds and a series B funding round. One of them is a giant
 

The pipeline for early investments in biometric identity companies is nothing to dismiss.

While jumbo series C through E deals – and certainly initial public offerings – are stalled in will-it-or-won’t-it (economy, recede) purgatory, early stakes are being closed.

This week there is even a choice to read about. There is a respectable $20 million series B out for Smile Identity, based in Nigeria, a heavy-duty $53 million seed round for Descope in Silicon Valley and a mystery sum for Dentity in Los Angeles.

Smile Identity is a KYC and ID verification firm that has taken in $30 million in total investments.

Costanoa and Norrsken22 led the new round. Also participating were new investors Commerce Ventures, Courtside Ventures, Two Culture Capital and Latitude. Previous investors joining in B included Valuestream Ventures, Intercept Ventures and Future Africa, according to the company.

Executives say they will use the round right now on engineering and product development and expansion into French-speaking and North Africa. That being said, Smile Identity has opened offices in Cape Town, South Africa and London.

Descope, meanwhile, has just come out of stealth mode to announce products and its very sizable seed funding. Executives say the name of the company refers to how their software is designed to “de-scope” authentication from developers’ task list, allowing them to work on strategic projects.

The $53 million seed round, an amount that makes the savvy take notice, was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and GGV Capital.

Partnerships pitching in included Unusual Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Cerca Partners, Tech Aviv, J Ventures and Silicon Valley CISO Investments, according to Descope. John Thompson, Microsoft’s lead independent director, and George Kurtz, co-founder and CEO of CrowdStrike were among individuals participating.

The company claims that with its software, developers can add authentication, user management and authorization capabilities with “a few lines of code.” Sounds vague and overly simple, but the investment and investors indicate that whatever is under the hood is likely to make an economic impact.

The company’s supported passwordless authentication methods for business and consumer apps include biometrics through delegation protocol WebAuthn.

Then there is Dentity, a verifiable credentials and ID verification company that has done what very few companies do – announce a seed round but keep the total a secret. Many entrepreneurs see outside investment as validation of their idea (and, secretly, themselves) and publicize as many details as they can.

It also is unusual for a company founded in 2021 to be selling a seed round.

The investment was led by Blockchange Ventures and AARP, the powerful membership/advocacy group for older people in the United States.

AARP’s focus is in minimizing the ID attacks and frauds that are aimed at people who, generally, are older than 55 years old, less aware of criminal tactics and less sophisticated at using digital devices.

Dentity provides selfie biometrics and liveness detection, in addition to user-controlled digital ID management with verifiable credentials.

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