Lagos and San Francisco-based identity verification company Youverify has raised $1 million in a seed extension round bringing its total to $2.5 million. The company had its initial seed funding round in 2020 and raised $1.5 million. Back then, the seed funding round was led by Africa-focused Orange Ventures and LoftyInc Capital and they also led this new extension round. The extension round also saw the participation of other investors like Octerra Capital, Plug & Play Venture, Syntax Ventures, HTTP Investors, Afer Group, and Fronesyz Capital.
Youverify is an identity verification company that helps African banks and startups to automate their KYC process as well as other compliance procedures. Companies like Youverify help reduce the chances of fraud and identity theft as financial services in Africa continues to grow. The company was founded in 2018 by its CEO Gbenga Odegbemi. When it launched, it provided API for address and identity verification to various financial institutions. Today, it has several KYC products and is operational in Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya. Describing the company, its CEO said that “The way our customers see us is that we help them automate their KYC and compliance issues.”
According to its CEO, Youverify’s services surpass just verifying identities, addresses, BVNs, etc. It also provides KYC and compliance products such as transaction monitoring, which is an offering that caters to challenges that fintech platforms have faced of late. Examples include the money laundering charges against Africa’s biggest unicorn Flutterwave, fraud in the case of Union54’s chargebacks, etc.
Commenting on the Union54 case, Youverify claims that it would have been able to prevent the large-scale chargeback fraud by identifying the patterns of transactions to flag fraud, cutting access those virtual cards have access and tying them back to fraudsters that committed the fake chargebacks. Commenting on this, Youverify’s CEO said that “They grew faster than they could put in place the proper transaction monitoring and fraud detection systems that will identify transactions happening from their customers,” the CEO said of the chargeback situation Union54 has dealt with over the past couple of months. “A system like ours will be able to identify previous and new patterns in such a way that we would’ve been able to help such the company.”
Youverify has a history of dealing with government bodies, big corporations, and banks, out of which two-thirds of Nigerian banks are under its wings. It added fintech to its portfolio last year.
The company plans to expand across Africa and is looking at increasing its footprint to 30 countries in the southern, eastern, and French-speaking parts of the country. The company also announced hiring plans. It also is looking at increasing the number of identities that it can verify to 2 billion from 400 while also developing more products that will be relevant across industries.