Identity verification platform Smile Identity has announced that it has raised $20 million in Series B funding to fund its pan-African expansion ambitions. 

The round included participation from leading investors Costanoa and Norrsken22, as well as Commerce Ventures, Courtside Ventures, Two Culture Capital, Valuestream Ventures, Intercept Ventures, Latitude, Future Africa, and 500 Fintech.

According to a statement by the startup, the funding will be used to expand its product and engineering team, accelerating the development and specialisation of its AI-powered biometrics, document verification, anti-fraud and compliance solutions tailored to African markets.

In addition to its presence in East, West and southern Africa, Smile Identity also plans to enter Francophone and Arab-speaking markets through localised sales and support.

Smile Identity’s product offering leverages proprietary machine learning algorithms specifically designed for African devices, faces and data sources. The startup helps businesses and organisations mitigate fraud and ensure compliance with KYC requirements.

“We believe the majority of people are honest,” said Mark Straub, CEO and co-founder of Smile Identity, “the challenge in the digital age is to prove this, regardless of how a user onboards – whether via agents, apps, tablets, the web, blockchains or paper forms.”   

Since its $7 million Series A funding in July 2021, the startup claims to have completed 50 million KYC checks for hundreds of partners across the African continent, helping them to scale their businesses by mitigating fraud and onboarding new customers seamlessly.

“We are thrilled to have the support of our partners and investors as we solve this problem across IDs, devices and compliance regimes to ensure Africans are among the most trusted consumers in the world.”

According to recent data, identity theft cases in Africa increased by 26% since 2021, with buy now pay later and investment & savings platforms experiencing more than 30% of all biometric fraud.

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox