Smile Identity raises $ 7 million to build KYC and identity verification tools for Africa

LAGOS, Nigeria, Jan. XNUMX / PRNewswire / - Smile Identity provides the identity verification, digital KYC, user onboarding, document verification, liveliness verification, face verification, fraud prevention, and identity data deduplication tools that enable the rapid growth and expansion of businesses and startups across Africa.

Smile Identity, the company that enables ID verification and KYC compliance through artificial intelligence designed for African faces and identities, announced today that the company has received $ 7 million in Series A funding had received.

The investment was made jointly by Costanoa Ventures and the pan-African venture company CRE Venture Capital led, with the participation of LocalGlobe, Intercept Ventures, Future Africa Ventures and angel investors from Africa and around the world. Existing investors, including Khosla Impact, ValueStream Ventures, Beta Ventures, 500 Startups, Und Story ventures were also involved.

This round, which represents the largest investment in an Africa-focused identity verification company, brings Smile Identity's total funding to over $ 11 million. The company plans to use the funding to improve its services, expand into additional markets, add support for more ID types, and hire more engineers and support staff in Africa. In connection with this financing round will John Cowgill von Costanoa join the board of directors of Smile Identity.

Smile Identity was founded in 2017 with the mission of empowering Africans everywhere to quickly and easily prove their identity online, while providing startups and established companies with the tools and software they need to automate customer onboarding to verify identity and prevent fraud.

Africans spend a disproportionate amount of time proving or verifying their identity in order to gain access to financial accounts, credit, SIM cards, proof of address and social benefits; and an estimated 500 million Africans have no formal identification at all. "We believe that everyone should be able to easily prove their identity anywhere in the world, and that access to a modern digital lifestyle should not depend on the origin of the ID card or IP address," says Mark Straub, Co-founder and CEO of Smile Identity.

To standardize identity verification across the continent and provide a single solution for a new generation of African businesses, Smile Identity works with local ID authorities to develop a platform that combines ID validation with proprietary face verification and liveliness verification to provide a surveillance-free, Support consent-based access and financial inclusion. The company performs over 1 million identity checks each month across Africa and its software is used in banking, fintech, ridesharing, employee screening, public welfare programs and telecommunications. His clients include payment companies like Paystack, Pagan and Chipper cash; Neo banks like Kudabank and umba; traditional banks like Stanbic IBTC; Cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance, Luno, and Paxful; and even supply chain companies like Twiga.

“Smile Identity has fueled our rapid growth across Africa and accelerated our ability to acquire real users and create a great KYC user experience for our customers. With Smile Identity we were able to automate our compliance process and reduce the duration of the KYC check by 99 percent from 2 days to 2 minutes. Within 6 weeks of using the automated KYC solution from Smile Identity, we hoisted ourselves to number 1 in the South African App Store, ”says the co-founder and President of Chipper cash, Maijid Moujaled.

The growing team of Smile Identity consists of employees from 12 countries, including 8 African nations. The company has subsidiaries, offices and engineers in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda.

Information on Smile Identity

Smile Identity is the leading Know Your Customer (KYC) and identity verification provider for Africa. We help companies scale rapidly across Africa by verifying the true identity of their users in real time - on any smartphone or computer. Our technology is based on proprietary machine learning algorithms designed specifically for African faces, and our products include identity verification, digital KYC, user onboarding, document verification, liveliness verification, face verification, fraud prevention, and identity data deduplication. Smile Identity enables tech ecosystems to grow across the entire African continent while providing an infrastructure for building trust on the Internet. It is supported by Costanoa, CRE Venture Capital, Khosla Impact, LocalGlobe and a number of angel investors from across Africa. For more information, visit

Information on Costanoa

Costanoa Ventures supports dedicated and thoughtful founders who are transforming the way business is done. Costanoa aims to be a long-term partner for entrepreneurs building long-lasting businesses that use data to solve complex business problems. For more information, visit

Information on CRE Venture Capital

CRE Venture Capital partners and invests in partnerships with forward-thinking entrepreneurs building category-defining technology companies in Africa. CRE was founded by Pule Taukobong and Pardon Makumbe. The company uses its relationships and experience to help founders build African tech companies with global relevance and impact. Current investments include Andela, Flutterwave, Rensource, Yoco and Oradian.

Inquiries & contact:

Ashiwel Ochui
Related links:
Logo -