Technology

AI ID specialist Onfido in talks to be bought by Entrust

London-based identity verification unicorn Onfido is likely to be bought by Entrust, a US-based payments, identity and data security specialist, for an as-yet undisclosed sum, after the two organisations agreed to enter exclusive discussions.

The acquisition, which at this stage is described as “contemplated”, would see Entrust add artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (AI/ML)-based biometrics and a document identity verification (IDV) tech stack to its existing portfolio, leveraging biometrics-based, phishing-resistant authentication in high-value transactions and signing events.

The two firms said the acquisition would combine “industry-leading” technology to offer enhanced identity-based offerings, enabling more trusted and secure interactions at scale for individuals and organisations alike.

“We chose to enter into discussions to acquire Onfido because we believe they have the best-in-class IDV team, capabilities and tech stack in the world,” said Todd Wilkinson, president and CEO of Entrust.

“With the emergence of AI-based attacks, the identity verification game has changed. Deepfakes and synthetic identity are driving a global need for a powerful level of identity assurance that facilitates crucial digital journeys in banking, finance, government, travel and more. Step-up authentication using biometric-based, AI-driven identity verification will be critical to ensuring security, privacy and trust in these high-value, digital-first interactions.

“Onfido IDV solutions have proven their value in Europe’s high-compliance environment,” he said. “With the proposed acquisition of Onfido, Entrust would have the opportunity to provide unmatched identity security solutions at a time when they are needed most among enterprises and institutions.”

Onfido CEO Mike Tuchen said: “We’re excited to be entering into early and exclusive discussions with Entrust to potentially expand access to the most advanced and secure digital identity verification solutions worldwide.

“Digital identities are enabling new levels of simplicity and access for people across the globe,” he said. “The potential of Onfido’s powerful AI and machine learning-driven identity verification and Entrust’s proven identity security solutions would make a new world of digital trust possible.”

Founded 12 years ago by former Oxford University students Hussayn Kassai, Eamon Jubbawy and Ruhul Amin, Onfido was born out of the frustration the three experienced when trying to clear the identity checks needed to work in the financial services industry. After securing £20,000 of seed funding from the Saïd Business School, they launched Onfido in late 2012, and secured their first customer, an online cleaning services platform, in January 2013.

Since then, Onfido has grown into a £103m turnover, 500-strong business with over 1,200 customers around the world, in sectors such as banking, gambling and gaming, and sharing economy platforms. Some of its notable financial services customers include Revolut, The Co-operative Bank and TSB. It claims to have processed over 200 million identity checks with more than 2,500 document types and passports from over 195 countries.

With roots in the credit card production and issuance business dating back to the 1960s, Minnesota-based Entrust similarly specialises in identity and access management (IAM) technology and services. In its lifetime, it has issued over 20 billion payment cards and currently protects over 100 million workforce and consumer identities, as well as encrypting and securing over 24 million Swift transfer messages daily. Its customers include unified comms firm Polycom and payment services specialists Square and Verifone.

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