Youverify raises $2.5m total seed fund, to expand across Africa

Godfrey Elimian
Youverify’s customer base increased by 300% to serve more than 400 banks and high-growth startups – Gbenga Odegbami
youID by Youverify
youID by Youverify

 Youverify, a Lagos and San Francisco–based identity verification company helping African banks and startups automate Know Your Customer (KYC) and other compliance procedures, is announcing that it has secured a $1 million seed round extension after it initially raised a $1.5 million round in 2020, bringing its total seed raised capital to $2.5 million. 

The latest round of funding was led by Africa-focused VCs Orange Ventures and LoftyInc Capital, the two investors who co-led its initial seed round. Additional investment came from Octerra Capital, Plug & Play Venture, Syntax Ventures, HTTP Investors, Afer Group and Fronesyz Capital. 

Related story: YouVerify launches YouID 3.0 to define the future of identity information management in Africa

CEO, Gbenga Odegbami, stated in a chat with Techcrunch that the company has continuously sought to offer more products to expand its product reach to a significant number of financial institutions across the continent. This has helped the company build a reputation that sets it apart from competitors based on what it offers.

As a result of diversifying its clientele base and increased demand for its KYC products, Odegbami said Youverify’s customer base increased by 300% to serve more than 400 banks and high-growth startups.

In the last 24 months, More than 5 million applications have been processed through Youverify’s application processes, which have assisted its businesses in hiring employees, selling financial goods, and remotely onboarding ride-hailing drivers. More than 500,000 new customers joined the company’s YouID digital identity platform, and 600 service providers from around the continent are in the queue for its marketplace.

According to Odegbami, the Lagos-based identity verification company also exceeded a $1 million ARR in 2017.

Lagos-Based Identity and Address Verification Company, Youverify Raises $1.5m Investment
CEO of Youverify, Gbenga Odegbami

“The way our customers see us is that we help them automate their KYC and compliance issues,” said Odegbami on a call with TechCrunch. 

“In addition to verifying identities beyond Nigeria’s bank verification number (BVN) and addresses, Odegbami says Youverify layers KYC and compliance products such as transaction monitoring. He further explained that these offerings cater to issues some fintech platforms have faced recently: alleged AML issues in the case of Flutterwave in Kenya and Ping Express in the U.S. and fraud in the case of Union54’s chargebacks”, Techcrunch reports.

Youverify asserts that by recognizing the pattern of transactions to signal fraud, disabling the virtual cards, and connecting them to the fraudsters responsible for the numerous false chargebacks, it could have stopped the widespread chargeback fraud.

Read also: GAT Summit: What is the role of proper governance in ease of doing business?

What should know about Youverify

Founded and launched in the Nigerian market in 2018, Youverify started out by providing an API for address and identity verification to several financial institutions. Now it has added other KYC products and is planning an expansion into new markets such as Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda.

youID by Youverify
At the launch of YouID by Youverify

According to Gbenga, It wasn’t until last year that it started dealing with fintech companies. Initially, most of its customers were governmental bodies, big corporations like Bolt and banks. Nearly two-thirds of Nigeria’s commercial banks, such as Standard Chartered, Standard Bank and Fidelity Bank, use the platform’s identity verification and KYC products,

However, in a bid to serve more clients, the company launched its proprietary technology, the Youverify OS (YVOS), which provides a single platform for automating due diligence and combines risk and compliance management with its core identity verification platform to deliver these fintech companies an enterprise-grade compliance solution.

With its other product, vFORM, a low and no-code tool, businesses can create a custom process for onboarding new customers using a drag-and-drop builder. 

Youverify intends to expand its reach to 30 nations over the next 18 months, with a focus on the francophone, southern, and eastern regions of Africa, where Odegbami claims the company will actively recruit. It also plans to build new automated compliance products for the gambling, travel, healthcare, and telecommunications industries as well as boost the number of IDs it can check from 400 million to 2 billion.

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