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How Estonia’s identity verification company Veriff managed to keep growing during the COVID-19 crisis, closing a 15.5M USD financing round

Estonian startup Veriff that provides smart and scalable identity verification closed a financing round of 15.5 M USD to ramp up global growth and sales to enterprise customers prior to a larger B-series financing round planned in the future. Money was raised from both new and existing investors.

Despite the global crisis caused by COVID-19, the company has witnessed increased customer engagement and taken advantage of accelerated digitalization around the world. Last year, Veriff’s verification volumes grew by 35 times, and it has kept up with the growth trajectory this year. However, profitability is also seen as a target.

Veriff has increased its sales volumes, continuously improving its technology, and signed agreements with major global customers in Silicon Valley. As a result of these activities, the company has earned the trust of investors and is expecting solid results for the year 2020.

The global pandemic has brought along significant paradigm shifts. This has created an increased demand for online identity verification, and Veriff is taking this responsibility seriously. During the pandemic, we were in close contact with our international customers, and witnessed how global tech giants as well as more traditional businesses pivoted their strategies in response to the crisis.

Online verification for Estonia’s notaries provided during the crisis

Through the solution offered by Veriff, many companies have managed to keep their business and cash flow open. Probably one of the most remarkable achievements of Veriff’s identification solutions was how it helped Estonian notaries to continue working during the COVID-19 lockdown as instead of physical visits, a lot of their work was done using online verification provided by Veriff. Moreover, at the time, when most of the business life went online, Veriff decided to donate 1 million verifications for non-profit organisations. “We are a force of good and would like to make a difference,” Veriff’s CEO Kaarel Kotkas commented.

From illegal use of Ebay to a multimillion euro company

Veriff was founded in 2015 when Kotkas was 20 years old. “I didn’t have a calling for the identification sector from a young age, but I have a story about it,” he told Life in Estonia magazine a few years ago. “When I was living on Hiiumaa we rolled hay bales, which meant that in the spring I needed to collect the rope that had held the bales together. It was non-biodegradable so I started to look for other options. There was no seller in Estonia but I found one from eBay. I was 14 and while trying to buy the product I needed to upload a picture of my ID and in two days I got an answer saying that I can’t use the service due to my age.”

Kotkas quickly photoshopped the picture of his ID to state that he was born 10 years earlier and could order the rope he needed. Seeing the same systems at work later sparked a thought in his mind. Now Kotkas is running a multimillion euro company.

Veriff was one of the participants of Estonian Investment Agency’s first ever Online Startup Demo Day held in May 2020.

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