Startup Of The Week

Startup Of The Week: IDnow

Germany’s IDnow helps companies onboard customers digitally. A video chat session is established with an agent to identify the applicant via facial recognition technology and then documents ranging from passports to identity cards are scanned. The process eliminates the need for people to show up in person in order to establish their identity. Customers include car rental and car-sharing companies that require secure verification of payment and proof of a valid driver’s license. Other use cases include banking, digital contract management, telecommunications, e-commerce and insurance.

« We believe that identity is key for trust on the Internet, » says IDnow’s Chairman and Co-founder Felix Haas. « It is the binding glue for business. »

IDnow’s technology covers identity documents in 193 countries including all passports and about 60 other documents that meet required security requirements, and is able to adjust to lighting differences and multiple operating systems.

It is a lucrative but crowded market. McKinsey has estimated that identification as a service will be a $20 billion market. Competitors include the U.S.’s Jumio and the UK’s Onfido but IDnow says neither one of these companies offers both video chat and document scanning.

A subsidiary of Lufthansa uses IDnow to onboard all of their employees who make global deliveries, says Haas. The German startup’s technology can quickly establish an employees’ identity, helping to determine whether they have any travel restrictions or a criminal record, he says.

Financial services is a key target area for the technology. Vienna-based Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) is using IDnow’s AI-based software to allow video identification of corporate customers. And mobile-first German challenger bank N26 is using IDnow’s technology to onboard its clients.

G+D Ventures, the corporate venture unit of Giesecke+Devrient, a global security technology group headquartered in Munich, Germany, has a minority stake in IDnow. The two companies signed an agreement last May to jointly work on biometric and AI technologies that can be applied to secure digital identification.

About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.