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Local identity app aims to go global


ThisIsMe, the South African developer of an identity solution, has set its sights on expanding into the African and international markets this year, having gained $2,5-million in funding from private investors.
Mark Chirnside, CEO of ThisIsMe, says the solution and app (available on Apple and Android app stores) proves a user is who is says he is, and that he is still alive, which is useful in preventing identity theft and other instances of fraud.
Conceptualised in 2013 and formally established in 2014, ThisIsMe verifies an individual’s identity to other individuals, businesses, financial institutions and regulators. It does so using links to Home Affairs and the major banks.
With a focus on compliance related to the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) in the financial space, the business has attracted substantial interest from South African corporate businesses and the customers they serve.
Chirnside notes that – since its launch – over 20 corporates have signed up to use ThisIsMe’s solutions to verify the identities of their clients.
“This includes two banks, one from the ‘top five’ in South Africa; three insurance companies; fund managers; and human resources businesses,” he adds.
Following success in the local market, ThisIsMe has received further funding, totaling $2,5-million from private investors which has fuelled the company’s plans for international expansion.
“We are planning to enter at least three different regions this year and progress in terms of expanding into two of these countries – Australia and New Zealand – is very advanced,” Chirnside says.
“On the African front, we are in talks with a potential partner in Nigeria.
“Nigeria represents a particularly demanding market, and confidence among ThisIsMe staff is high that their processes will aid Nigeria’s specific challenges,” he adds.
“We also have plans for investment expansion in the US and Europe with incredibly exciting partners.”
consumer, merchant and juristic markets.
“Currently, South Africans are using the ThisIsMe app for FICA purposes and to avoid the hassle of paperwork and duplicated effort in this regard. They are also actively verifying each other using the early releases of our mobile apps.
“In the long-term, however, I hope to see this technology become ubiquitous in South Africa and even be used for hassle-free voting online one day,” Chirnside says.