For many financial institutions in Southeast Asia, verifying new customers takes a week or two, the founders of Verihubs said. The startup cuts that time to just five seconds, using AI-based identity authentication technology and APIs that allow businesses to continue verifying loyal customers via text, WhatsApp or flash calls.
Verihubs announced that it had raised $ 2.8 million in seed funding for its goal of becoming “the one stop shop for verification in Southeast Asia”. The cycle led by Insignia Venture Partners, with the participation of CCV (Central Capital Ventura, the investment arm of Bank Central Asia, Indonesia’s largest private bank) and Armand Ventures. The round also includes angel investors from notable Southeast Asian startups, such as Shipper co-founder Budi Handoko; Jefriyanto and Ricky Winata, co-founders of Payfazz; Gotrade co-founder Rohit Mulani; the founder of Bukuwarung, Chinmay Chauhan; and the ex-product manager of Modalku Pramodh Rai.
The startup recently finished participating in the 2021 Y Combinator Summer Batch and says it is the first YC-backed AI startup in Indonesia.
Based in Jakarta, Verihubs was founded in 2019 by Rick Firnando, who has over 9 years of experience in the B2B industry, and Williem Williem, an AI researcher with a doctorate in computer vision from the University. Inha in South Korea. The company currently has 46 clients, including major banks and fintechs, and the founders say it is on track to soon reach 100 clients. While most of its current customers are in the financial space, Verihubs technology can also be used for e-commerce, rental markets and hospitality (one of its customers is a hotel that uses Verihubs to its registration process).
Before adopting Verihubs, many of its clients still verified clients manually, Firnando said. Verihubs serves as an end-to-end verification solution, “because integrating with multiple vendors is painful for developers,” he added. That’s why it allows customers to perform KYC (Know Your Customer), offers phone number verification using WhatsApp or SMS, and also verifies customers’ financial data.
When end users sign in to an app that uses Verihubs for the first time, they are prompted to take a selfie and then upload a photo of a government issued photo ID. Then, Verihubs’ AI-based technology compares the two photos to see if they match, and also crosses the ID with telecom credit scores and Indonesian government databases, including criminal records.
Verihubs serves two types of end users: those with traditional bank accounts and the “unbanked” people. The startup’s new investment in Central Capital Ventura will help it develop its services for users with bank accounts, as it will be able to partner with BCA to access its clients’ data. For unbanked users, Firnando said Verihubs works closely with Payfazz, which allows customers to deposit money with local agents to use for online payments, and BukuWarung, an accounting app for customers. PME, to access transaction data.
The startup’s product pipeline also includes creating its own credit scores, based on data such as transactions and account balances. Verihubs is currently focused on Indonesia, with plans to eventually expand into other Southeast Asian markets.
“For the identity verification system, we found that there is already a suitable product market in Indonesia, but we would like to expand into new products,” Firnando said. “We consolidate financial data from multiple sources, not only for banks, but also for unbanked populations. And we are also exploring expansion into new markets, such as the Philippines and Vietnam.