Smile Identity intends to be the best KYC (Know your Customer) software biometric solution for mobile app developers that require scalable, flexible and user-friendly customer authentication to protect identity and prevent fraud.

Company Overview

CEO: Mark Straub
Founded: 2016
Market: Africa
Product: KYC Software Biometric Solution
Sponsor: 500 Startups

Over the next six months, Smile Identity will receive $100,000 USD in grant capital and receive the mentoring of its Catalyst Fund sponsor, 500 Startups. The company will also work with BFA to identify specific advisory engagements towards strategic milestones and a growth trajectory.

THE Problem and Solution

The fear of false identity has become a barrier to the development process for a majority of countries worldwide. To solve this issue, Smile Identity built a 3D selfie technology as an authentication tool called SmartSelfie for financial service providers in emerging markets. Smile Identity allows users to take selfies of themselves to log in their users accounts and verify any transaction. This facial recognition tool is looking to augment password and digital finger print verification methods. 

The Innovation

  • 3D selfie technology that recognizes users' faces for KYC and protection purposes in lieu of fingerprints or passwords
  • Allows for multi-modal biometric recognition
  • Optimized processing between device versus cloud based on user’s phone capabilities and bandwidth limitations, key in low bandwidth environments
  • Developed Mobile SDKs to enable developers and banks to integrate seamlessly within their apps
  • API Calls for instant on-demand biometric authentications from any smartphone
  • Dynamic policy controls to allow developers to match level of accuracy required to level of risk at hand

The Value Proposition

  • Use 3D selfie technology as an innovative authentication tool for financial services companies
  • Allow financial services to build trust with customers by protecting their identity
  • Offer an easy and affordable method for end users to protect their identity and verify transactions



Smile Identity is aligned with the Catalyst Fund learning agenda and core mission. Their challenges as we know them could help answer such questions within the learning pillars of:

  • 10x better value propositions: How can Smile Identity help financial service providers make decisions faster while boosting customization for the users?
  • Limiting factors: How can Smile Identity engender sufficient trust with:
    1. low-income customers?
    2.  between customers and FSPs so that customers are not limited to one-size-fits-all solutions and can access financial products that are better tailored to their needs?