Berbix secured a $9 million Series A round of funding to continue developing its instant identity verification platform.
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The company was founded in 2018 by Eric Levine and Steve Kirkham, two former Airbnb trust and safety team leaders. Berbix creates an ID verification tool that uses machine learning techniques to instantly spot fraud that no human eye can detect, replacing a manual review process and validating an identification in two seconds or less.
Current tools are either too expensive, cumbersome to use or take nearly five minutes to provide validation, Levine told Crunchbase News. Berbix’s tool is embedded on a customer’s website and enables people to securely provide front and back photos of their identification. The system checks other factors, such as age requirements or information needed for a background check.
“We are reinventing the identification verification space by creating a tool that is fully automatic and instantaneous, and can stop people trying to defraud our customers,” Levine said.
Mayfield led the financing, joined by existing investors including Initialized Capital, Y Combinator and Fika Ventures. This brings Berbix’s total funding raise to date to $11.6 million, including a $2.5 million seed round in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.
Building trust online
As part of the investment, Mayfield Partner Patrick Salyer joins the board.
Salyer, who himself spent about 15 years in the security space as CEO of Gigya, said in an interview that Levine and Kirkham stood out to him because of their mission-driven goal for making the internet a safer place after experiencing the problem firsthand at Airbnb.
Two years ago, McKinsey reported that the ID verification-as-a-service was going to be a $20 billion market by 2022. Technology advances in software can now detect fake IDs and other types of fraud more quickly, cheaply and effectively than the best human screener.
In terms of the market, Salyer said the past six months have shown us how many things previously done offline are now being done digitally and with preference to continue digitally in the future.
“More and more, we are finding that we have to recreate offline experiences by building trust online—we have to know this person is who we think they are,” he added. “Once we establish that trust, we know this is going to work.”
How Berbix is growing
To stay ahead of the trends, the new funding will be used to hire additional employees and continue growing its customer base.
“We are a lean operation and expect to double our size by early next year,” Levine said. “We are growing with our trajectory for the company and will be making bulk hires in product and sales.”
Meanwhile, the company’s year-over-year growth has exploded since the company was in Y Combinator in 2018. Today, Berbix handles hundreds of thousands of identification checks each month, while continuing to reach new milestones, Kirkham said.
COVID-19 has affected some of the growth as more identification checks need to be done virtually. The company is seeing more people send copies of their government-issued identification through email and text, methods that can be compromised.
“People do need to be cautious,” Kirkham said. “We are stewards of end-user privacy, so our images are watermarked and secured in a way that can’t be reused in case they were compromised.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias