Persona, the identity verification (IDV) startup on a mission to secure every internet transaction, today announced its Series A funding round—with $17.5 million raised from investment firms such as Coatue and First Round Capital—to expand its efforts in helping businesses securely and seamlessly identify individuals.
As the sharing economy, on-demand service networks, and digital banking and financial services sectors have grown, so too has the volume and value of all online transactions and corresponding fraud. Persona, co-founded by former Square engineer Rick Song and former Dropbox engineer Charles Yeh, is taking a user-centric approach to identity security by acting as the Internet’s identity verification layer. Its dynamic and configurable platform seamlessly plugs into a client’s codebase and offers identity verification across every possible use case.
“With all transactions going online, Internet identity requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach, especially with deep fakes and synthetic identity fraud on the rise,” said Rick Song, CEO and co-founder of Persona. “Persona’s customizable, secure and easy to use approach is also the first identity platform that prioritizes our customers, treating people like people, not user IDs.”
“Persona integrates in days compared to months, and provides the flexibility to pivot to any use case while providing a clean and easy experience for our customers,” said Alex Constantino, fraud manager at fintech credit card company Petal, who added that the company’s key concerns are identity fraud and risk assessment. “Persona does a great job of enabling us to address know your customer requirements, while at the same time helping us to oversee the associated data management responsibilities.”
“Trust is a core UrbanSitter value. We provide a personal network-backed online marketplace where both parents and sitters value trust and transparency around user identity,” said Lynn Perkins, CEO and founder of UrbanSitter. “Persona is helping us improve site safety by enhancing our ID verification processes both from a security and a customer experience standpoint, which further reinforces our value proposition.”
Below are Persona’s innovative approaches to data privacy, user experience, ease of use and adaptation to best solve identity verification in the modern era:
1 – Persona makes IDV more secure by prioritizing data privacy
Equifax paid $700M for its data breach and Facebook and Google paid $8.8 billion in GDPR lawsuits. The big picture is that every company that touches personal user data needs to protect its customers, without creating too much friction. Persona is helping companies verify people easily without compromising end user protection. Persona’s approach minimizes the data that organizations have access to, protecting both sides of any online interaction.
“Persona protects customers from liability. We only give them the PII data they need to conduct business, thus reducing data breaches,” said Song. “While we take pride in treating users like humans, we’ve eliminated human touch within the identity verification process, which increases security by granting access to only those that need it, while increasing speed through automation.”
2 – Persona’s ease of use enhances user experience for users and businesses
Historically, identity verification and a good user experience have not gone hand-in-hand. That’s why Persona’s unique user-centric and design-forward approach to IDV has been so well received by customers.
“We care about making the identity verification experience delightful by putting the end user first and tailoring the experience based on their risk profile. To make IDV less transactional and more human, Persona is focusing on our customers’ experience, to make them feel safe while they verify themselves—quite a positive disruption to the status quo, resulting in better security for all parties,” said Song.
Moreover, Persona is easy to use for the businesses and organizations that are adopting it to verify their customers — 10 lines of code versus integrating with 100+ partners. For many of these businesses, Persona also eliminates manual business processes like calling or emailing customers to verify their identities by using automation.
3 – Persona’s solution adapts to any business
Persona utilizes all best practices: database lookups, quizzes, reverse phone lookups, document verification, government ID verification, and biometric options such as uploading a selfie, and live video capture to produce a facial similarity score. While Persona does use artificial intelligence and facial recognition to mitigate deep fakes and synthetic identity fraud, those techniques are not considered silver bullets, but rather parts of a holistic and complete identity verification stack.
Persona’s core metric for success is not revenue nor volume, but rather solving every possible use case and pain point for identity verification, whether it’s ecommerce and fintech, telemedicine subscriptions, tech-enabled real estate viewings, gig economy logins, guest check-ins for offices, etc. Persona lets customers know that their users are who they say they are. To provide global clients with flexibility, Persona supports 192+ countries and localized languages, all while seamlessly integrating into a client’s code base.
Notable Persona clients include – Rippling, Petal, UrbanSitter, Branch, Brex, Postmates, Outdoorsy, Rently, SimpleHealth and Hipcamp.
Persona is the all-in-one ID verification startup with the mission to securely ID every person performing a transaction on the Internet. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Persona has 20 employees and is backed by Coatue and First Round Capital, along with angel investment from Zach Perret and William Hockey (co-founders of Plaid), Dylan Field (founded Figma), Scott Belsky (Behance) and Tony Xu (DoorDash).