From the rise of digital commerce to the growth of the gig economy to the challenge of a global pandemic, digital identity technology has been one of the bigger beneficiaries of a number of trends sweeping societies around the world. Add to this a new emphasis on financial inclusion and social equity, and you have a recipe for opportunity for many innovators in the digital identity space.
The latest company to take advantage of the current moment is OCR Labs, which made its Finovate debut at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, in 2016. The company, headquartered in Sydney, Australia and founded by Matthew Adams and Daniel Aiello, returned to the Finovate stage the following summer, earning a Best of Show award for a demo of its ID verification solution.
OCR Labs combines five different technologies – ID document OCR, document fraud assessment, liveness detection, video fraud assessment, and face matching – in a single, end-to-end digital identity experience. The company’s technology has been deployed in a wide range of verticals – from financial services and e-commerce to telecommunications and real estate – to provide AML and KYC-compliant digital ID verification and customer onboarding.
This week OCR Labs announced that it had raised $15 million (EUR 12.5 million) in Series A funding. The round was led Oyak Group of Turkey and will enable the company to expand into markets into Turkey, the U.K., and throughout Europe. OCR Lab currently maintains an international headquarters in London.
“No one wants to spend hours trying to prove who they are, whether it’s for a job or for a bank account, and we also want to know we’re protected against identity theft and fraud,” OCR Labs co-founder Daniel Aiello said. “Digital ID verification has a key role to play, but this year we’ve also seen the limitations if hybrid models are used. People are a barrier and a risk, but fully automated technology can have a huge impact on many industries and privacy. OCR Labs is built to be secure, frictionless and fast, and capable of recognizing ID documents the world over.”
Enjoying triple-digit growth since its launch, OCR Labs has partnered with Reed Screening to help businesses verifying candidate identities during the COVID crisis ahead of a potential in-person COVID check mandate later this month. There is some pressure to allow businesses to continue remote COVID checking, an idea with which OCR Labs understandably sympathizes.
“The need for digital verification is growing exponentially,” Aiello said. “This past year we’ve seen more demand from new sectors as they try to navigate the pandemic and an inability to operate in-person. We believe it has accelerated what needed to happen.”