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Footprint makes a mark on ID verification market with $13M series A round

Deepfake threat driving adoption of identity verification tech across sectors
Footprint makes a mark on ID verification market with $13M series A round
 

New York-based KYC and digital identity verification startup Footprint has announced a $13 million Series A funding round led by QED Investors. A press release says Footprint’s frictionless identity verification and secure PII data vault unifies KYC (Know Your Customer), security and authentication to automate consumer onboarding and reduce identity fraud.

Existing investors Index Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Operator Partners, BoxGroup, Palm Tree Capital and Definition also participated, along with new investors Neo and Animal Capital. The investment follows a $6 million seed round completed in August to create a vault for identity data and provide it on demand via biometric authentication.

The funding will help Footprint expand the breadth and depth of its offerings, supporting the launch of a fraud suite and additional identification documents consumers can use for ID verification. Footprint Connections, its new intercommunications platform for customers, also figures into the plan.

“Core to Footprint is a new philosophy around who fraud and KYC companies should be trying to identify,” says Footprint CEO Eli Wachs. Generative AI has made volumes of fraudulent identity attacks unmanageable. “Companies look to screen out bad actors but there are an infinite amount. We needed a new approach – one that labels good actors – so Footprint created a centralized network of authentic, de-duplicated identities. Now we can narrow the scope of who is in a pre-vetted field, leaving fraudsters less room to hide.”

Footprint believes current solutions are not targeting the root problems driving identity fraud, lacking detection measures that assess behavioral risk. Its product offers a system based on “components” – UX elements that can be customized to collect onboarding data. The tool can dynamically prompt users to provide additional documentation at account creation or log-in. Document and selfie verification are included, and passkeys can bind a biometric to PII to prevent account takeovers and phishing.

Working on the concept of “portable identity” to define its secure vaulting system, Footprint relies on Nitro Enclaves, AWS’s secure computing environment released at the end of 2020, for secure data storage. That, along with FIDO2’s passkey standard for private and secure authentication, are the foundations on which Footprint is building its trusted network of verified, portable identities.

“Sharable identities have been the center of financial services discussions on KYC for over a decade, but technological hurdles and business model flaws have prevented previous attempts from getting traction,” says QED Investors partner Amias Gerety. “Footprint leverages the latest industry standards with a business architecture that bakes portable identity into its core, while seamless integration puts business users in the driver’s seat on both fraud and KYC performance. We’ve never seen a company whose value prop resonated so well with both early stage fintechs and late-stage enterprise platforms.”

Deepfake concern powers IDV wins for Nametag, Nivo, Prembly, Zoloz

Global IT company FPT Software recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ant Digital Technologies to integrate the latter’s flagship products into FPT Software’s service offerings. The deal includes the AI-powered digital identity verification product Zoloz eKYC, which Ant has previously tried to sell, but which it apparently decided to keep in push to gain a fresh foothold in biometric deepfake detection. According to a release, the partnership focuses on digital financial infrastructure and shoring up FPT Software’s offerings in Southeast Asia.

A sponsored article posted on Yahoo! Finance says Time Finance, a UK asset finance provider, is partnering with Nivo to deploy face biometrics for identity verification through a downloadable app. Matthew Elliott, CCO of Nivo, says “the combination of a verified identity with instant messaging in a secure mobile app makes things easier and safer for customers and brokers, and we believe it can revolutionize the industry.”

Nametag will provide digital identity verification tools for web and commerce technology company Newfold Digital, which owns brands Bluehost, Web.com and HostGator, among others. Aaron Painter, CEO of Nametag, says the firm is “thrilled to be helping Newfold take this next proactive step to protect their customers, their employees, and their brand against fraudsters who are increasingly using AI-generated deepfakes to exploit outdated user verification methods.” The partnership will focus on supporting Newfold’s helpdesk.

Data verification firm Prembly has secured a Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) license. A post on Pembly’s blog says the license will allow the firm to offer “enhanced telecommunication data verification services, ensuring the integrity and reliability of the data we handle and the responses our customers receive.”

Music industry looks to end bad romance with identity fraud

An interesting offshoot of digital identity verification is emerging in the protection of digital music assets. White-label music distribution platform SonoSuite, which is headquartered in Barcelona, has enlisted Estonia’s Veriff to provide identity verification. In a post on Veriff’s blog, Sebastián Mañana, CEO of SonoSuite says that, “malicious actors are becoming more sophisticated, causing friction and undermining credibility along the customer journey.” The IDV partnership will aim to address unauthorized music distribution, fake streaming and fraudulent royalties.

An article in Music Connection digs into a project to “authenticate the digital identity of the entire global music community.” Shufti Pro is on board to provide identity verification tools undergirding “a trusted ecosystem of verified artists, creators, industry professionals, organizations, businesses, and brands under the .MUSIC top-level domain.” The project has been years in the making as its initiator, a musician and entrepreneur named Constantine Roussos, worked to secure exclusive rights to the domain. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) eventually awarded them to Roussos under his company, dotMUSIC Limited.

Now, “for the first time in the Internet age, the global music community and industry will be able to register their .MUSIC names in a trusted, secure, and safe manner without the fear of impersonators, cybersquatters, or AI bots.” It aims to streamline royalty collection and licensing for permissions to use name, image, likeness and voice (NILV). Major names in the music industry to register .MUSIC domains include artists like Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, streamers such as Spotify and Soundcloud, and social platforms including Meta, Facebook and Instagram.

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