UPDATED 12:55 EST / JANUARY 28 2020


Persona raises $17.5M for plug-in identity verification platform

Persona Identities Inc. today said it has raised $17.5 million in a Series A funding round to develop its identity verification-as-a-service platform.

The company offers a configurable platform that plugs into a customer’s website to verify identities across a wide range of use cases.

The company is tackling an identity verification task that is vital but also increasingly difficult for online businesses to handle on their own. There are more options than every for verifying identities, and also more ways to fool protections that are in place.

Persona says its customers can add just 10 lines of code to their online platforms instead of integrating with scores of partners. They can also eliminate processes like calling or emailing customers by making third-party verification automatic.

“A lot of companies aren’t well equipped to handle the data they need, particularly as things like biometrics and photos of driver licenses come into play,” said Chief Executive Rick Song. In addition, identity management isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, he said. “If you’re signing up for a $100,000 loan or to be a ride-share driver, the identity approach should be very different,” he said.

Persona stores identify information and provides the infrastructure for verification. It combines source data from partners like credit bureaus with technology checks like IP address checks and image recognition.

Among the practices it uses are database lookups, quizzes, reverse phone lookups, document verification, government ID verification, biometrics and live video capture. The company has developed its own machine learning technology for validating government-issued IDs and spotting manipulations of digital photos, Song said.

The technology uses a probabilistic approach that combines multiple factors to assess the likelihood that people are who they say they are. “We have a variety of ways to detect such things, ranging from checking the metadata of a photo to verifying image compression levels to checking for eye color or hair color that doesn’t exactly match what’s on the ID,” Song said. “We can determine the likelihood that there is a person in front of that video camera” instead of a photograph.

Lead investors include Coatue Management and First Round Capital. The funds will be used to expand the 20-person company and its infrastructure. “It’s an incredibly expanding space as we believe no one needs to demonstrate the value,” Song said. “It’s all about execution.”

Photo: Unsplash

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