Imagine waking up one day with a notification from your home banking app saying that your life savings have just been transferred to a random account. You are in shock, you have no idea on how this happened, you contact your bank’s customer support. After checking the transaction, they conclude that you authenticated the transaction yourself through face authentication.
How could this have happened? The answer is simple: Someone had access to a few photos or videos of you, perhaps uploaded in your social media, created a deep fake of you, accessed your home banking app and authenticated the transfer using it. A breach of your privacy happened.
You are left wondering: is this my fault or the bank’s? Either way, you are not getting your money back anytime soon.
What’s wrong with the current system?
As technology advances perpetrators are able to improve their fraud schemes. Financial institutions around the world have to continuously evolve and improve their control systems to adapt to new frauds. This involves fast-moving development, which is not a common trait in large enterprises .
With the recent democratization of generative AI, a lot of new frauds have been appearing seamlessly. Out of these, one of the fastest growing crime is synthetic identity fraud. This is where cybercriminals create new identities with stolen or fabricated data, or even, as is the case with deep fakes, impersonate someone.
As we continue to transition to a cashless world, Deloitte estimates that this type of fraud is expected to generate at least $23 billions in losses by 2030. This will prompt many banks and fintechs to develop more advanced biometric security. Today’s biometric tools, although far better than their passwords counterparts, have shown multiple times that they can be bypassed, for example, by using deep fakes to pass through some banks KYC protocols.
There is a need for a new set of biometric tools with additional and ever-evolving layers of defense to help counteract these fraudulent actions and to create a safe and seamless user experience.
How can Youverse help solve this?
Youverse offers a biometric authentication solution that improves existing controls and solutions, and allows for the creation of decentralized reusable identities that are agnostic to any device, platform or browser.
They currently offer three main products:
- YouAuth: A decentralized authentication system to replace password logins and easily ensure that only authorized people are able to access the system via biometric verification.
- YouID: Aimed at helping companies build an identity verification flow that verifies users’ identity though face verification between a live picture and the identity document, with added anti-spoofing/liveness checks to detect a real user from a synthetic, and automation of document OCR and validation.
- YouFace: Aimed at helping businesses integrate face processing capabilities to any application, which also includes face verification (1-to-1 matching) and identification (1-to-many matching).
Their current use-cases span across multiple industries:
Fig. 1 – Product use-cases
Why We Invested?
As a fintech focused investor, we have seen many times how identity-related frauds negatively affects players in the financial services industry, with many of them suffering large losses on a recurring basis.
The decision to invest in Youverse was clear and it was based upon three main pillars:
- Founder-market fit — The team has an extraordinary background, having had 15+ years of prior experience building biometrics products, they had the necessary skills and technical domain expertise to bring a best-in-class product to the market.
- Problem validation— Having previously invested in the anti-fraud space, we know it very well and have seen in the market a clear need to improve control systems, with expensive losses being incurred every year due to frauds. Youverse has a better solution to tackle this problem when compared to current systems.
- Growing opportunity — As technology continues to evolve, so will frauds, so the market will always have an urgent need for a solution like Youverse, that is adaptable and reduce the probability of businesses getting defrauded. As such, not only do we see a large targetable market, but we also see a fast growing opportunity and the right timing to capture it as advancements in generative AI have been worsening the problem.
We have been investors in Youverse since early 2022. Since then, not only have we seen the company’s fast growth, having closed notable industry leaders in various segments, but we have also witnessed the product evolving and winning multiple awards in the identity industry. Thus, we continue to have a strong conviction and support the notable team behind Youverse, and hope do it so for the years to come.
By: Rafik Shamsudin, Analyst