ThisIsMe gets $2.5m funding round, is set for international expansion

ThisIsMe, the online verification startup, has landed US$2.5-million in funding to fuel its international expansion efforts.

According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the funding comes from private investors and is aimed at helping it expand into both the African and International markets this year. ThisIsMe was able to secure the funding, it says, on the back of success in the corporate arena locally.

Conceptualised in 2013 and formally established in 2014, ThisIsMe verifies an individual’s identity to other individuals, businesses, financial institutions and regulators. It does so using links to Home Affairs and the major banks.

“We are planning to enter at least three different regions this year and progress in terms of expanding into two of these countries – Australia and New Zealand – is very advanced,” says CEO Mark Chirnside.

“On the African front, we are in talks with a potential partner in Nigeria,” he explains. “Nigeria represents a particularly demanding market, and confidence among ThisIsMe staff is high that their processes would aid Nigeria’s specific challenges.”

According to Chirnside, ThisIsMe also has plans for investment expansion in the US and Europe.

With a focus on compliance related to the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) in the financial space, the business has attracted substantial interest from South African corporate businesses and the customers they serve.

According to the release, some 20 corporates have signed up to use ThisIsMe’s solutions to verify the identities of their clientele.

“This includes two banks, one being from the ‘top five’ in South Africa; three insurance companies; fund managers; and HR businesses,” Chirnside.

Chirnside says that ThisIsMe is also set to expand into the consumer, merchant and juristics markets.

Among the more interesting applications of the ThisIsMe technology is its use in the signing up of drivers for the WeChat-based delivery service PicUp.

There are, however more prosaic uses.

“Currently, South Africans are using the ThisIsMe app for FICA purposes and to avoid the hassle of paperwork and duplicated effort in this regard,” says Chirnside. “They are also actively verifying each other using the early releases of our mobile apps.”

The ThisIsMe CEO has much bigger ambitions than that though: “In the long-term, however, I hope to see this technology become ubiquitous in South Africa and even be used for hassle-free voting online one day”.



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