Onfido has raised $25 million (£18 million) for its background checking platform from the investors behind companies like Spotify, Deezer, Happn, and Secret Escapes.
The startup, cofounded by three Oxford graduates in 2012, helps businesses like The Daily Mail and sharing economy startups like BlaBlaCar to verify that employees and contractors are who they say they are.
In order to help the company scale globally, Onfido chose to raise another round of funding. The series B funding round — led by Idinvest Partners, with participation from Wellington Partners, CrunchFund, and others — brings total funding in Onfido up to $30.3 million (£21.5 million).
Onfido CEO Husayn Kassai told Business Insider that the latest funding round will help Onfido expand deeper into the US, where it employs 10 people in San Francisco, in addition to the 86 staff it has across London and Lisbon.
“Our vision is to build the trust engine to power human interactions worldwide,” said Kassai over email. “It could be the interaction between a passenger and a driver, a host and a guest, or even a cleaner and a homeowner. To achieve that we will be using the investment to scale our global operations and our machine-learning technology.
“We’ve seen that the US is our fastest growing market with 40% month-on-month growth. We’ve gained a lot of traction in the past few months with the likes of Turo and Workmarket and the demand is only growing — particularly in the sharing economy and fintech sector.”
Unlike many other identity verification platforms, Onfido’s operations are almost entirely online. Employers and sharing economy platforms send an email via Onfido to prospective employees or sharing economy users asking them to provide proof that they, for example, hold a valid driving licence. Onfido’s platform then automatically cross-checks these with the appropriate databases and reports back to the employer or sharing economy platform.
Kassai told Business Insider in January that Onfido had 625 customers. Today that number stands at over a thousand.
Working with Airbnb
One big sharing economy company that Onfido has failed to attract is Airbnb.
Like other sharing economy companies, Airbnb is under pressure to improve the safety of its platform after reports emerged stating a number of guests have been raped by their hosts. There have also been reports of guests holding wild drug-fuelled sex parties in Airbnb properties.
In theory, a better background checking platform could help Airbnb to avoid these incidents.
Airbnb and Onfido have held talks but so far no deal has been signed. Now could be a good time for Onfido to move in, however, given Airbnb’s current background checker, Jumio, filed for bankruptcy last month.
When we asked Kassai how long it will be before Onfido lands Airbnb as a customer, he said: “We hope to work with all big players in the fintech and sharing economy sectors who require an identity verification and background checking solution. By entering the US, we are building the single, global solution that many large companies need.”
Matthieu Baret, a partner at Idinvest, said in a statement: “In what is set to be a testing year for many startups, Onfido has the product and business model that will allow them to continue their strong upwards trajectory. This is why we invested and we look forward to working together as they expand to new markets and territories.”