British AI startup Onfido has raised $50 million in a new funding round led by SBI Holdings, an early spinoff from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.
SBI Holdings is separate from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the closely watched mega-fund that has only invested in three British companies to date. SBI set up a $450 million fund to invest in cryptocurrency and AI startups.
Salesforce Ventures, M12Capital, and FinVC also took part in Onfido’s funding round.
Onfido was founded in 2012 by three Oxford graduates Ruhul Amin, Husayn Kassai, and Eamon Jubbawy. The London-headquartered company uses artificial intelligence to verify people’s identities for financial services, gaming, and other services. The idea was originally based on Amin’s university thesis.
The three founders have an average age of 29, and have now raised a total of $100 million.
Onfido CEO Husayn Kassai told Business Insider that he met with SoftBank’s idiosyncratic CEO Masayoshi Son as part of the investment, and that the money would boost the firm’s expansion. Kassai wouldn’t comment on the startup’s valuation.
“The new funding takes us closer to our goal of using AI to standardise the way businesses verify identities online, and help protect them from the effects of fraud,” he told Business Insider via email.
“Firstly, a big focus will be on product development, bolstering our machine learning models and AI offerings. The second focus will be consolidating our core market in the USA, which is now our largest and fastest-growing market, whilst accelerating our expansion into high-growth regions like Europe and South-East Asia.”
Onfido’s customers include food delivery platform Deliveroo, car hire firm Zipcar, and payments firm Square. The company has 240 employees across seven offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Lisbon, New Delhi, Paris, and Singapore.
The majority of employees are in Onfido’s UK office, with the firm expecting to hit 200 employees there before the end of 2019. Kassai said the firm planned to remain headquartered in London despite the economic uncertainty of Brexit. But, he added, “the centre of gravity” was shifting to the US.