UPDATED 23:40 EDT / APRIL 19 2021


Mastercard snaps up identity verification company Ekata for $850M

Credit card and finance company Mastercard Inc. today said it has acquired identity verification company Ekata Inc. for $850 million.

Founded in 1997, Ekata provides global identity verification data via application programming interfaces and on a software-as-a-service basis, with a focus on helping businesses assess digital risk. The company allows businesses to link digital transactions to the actual person behind it, allowing clients to comply with regulatory requirements such as Know Your Customer.

Ekata’s Identity Engine uses datasets from the Ekata Identity Graph and the Ekata Identity Network to provide identity verification data that’s said to provide consistent results across the globe with fast response times. Pitched as offering “smarter identity verification,” the company’s service assist in areas including preventing fake accounts, reducing payment risks, combatting transaction fraud and providing the ability to cross-verify customer information.

Underneath Ekata’s software stack is machine learning with a dataset built around core identity attributes to help businesses make accurate risk decisions about their customers.

Ekata claims more than 2,000 customers, including Lyft Inc., Postmates Inc., American Airlines Inc., AirAsia Berhad, Equifax Inc., Intuit Inc., Alaska Air Group Inc. and Sage Group plc.

For Mastercard, the acquisition will allow the company to build out its existing fraud prevention and digital identity programs, help its corporate clients to know more about their customers and, in turn, help them safely interact online.

“The acceleration of online transactions has thrust global digital identity verification to the forefront as one of the biggest opportunities to build digital trust and combat global fraud,” Rob Eleveld, chief executive officer of Ekata, said in a statement. “The right identity verification solutions enable inclusive and frictionless experiences while, at the same time, ensuring customer privacy, control and security.”

The acquisition comes after identity access firm Okta Inc. announced March 3 that it’s acquiring rival Auth0 Inc. for $6.5 billion.

Prior to acquisition, Ekata had raised $45 million in venture capital funding according to data from Craft. Investors include Providence Equity Partners and TCV.

Image: Ekata

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