A.ID, an identity and compliance platform with a focus on high-risk clients, has closed a pre-seed investment round of $500,000 from angel investors including former employees of RobinHood, Square and Snap.
The startup says it is addressing a market that traditional fintech companies and banking institutions can’t seem to deal with: the rise of "risky" customers dealing in products deemed problematic. A case in point is that the legal cannabis industry grows by 67% every year, and crypto by over 46%. Meanwhile, the unbanked and underbanked population grows every day, but existing financial institutions seem unable to cater to these exploding markets.
B2B2C platform A.ID was founded by Ekaterina Romanovskaya, a third-time entrepreneur with experience in both finance and consumer tech, and Justinas Kaminskas, who has launched compliance products in Europe.
“Our end-game is to build trust: end-users trust companies with their sensitive data, while companies trust users not to engage in unlawful activity," Romanovskaya said. "We strongly believe that this kind of trust is essential, and we see it being eagerly anticipated everywhere.”
A.ID says its solution allows clients to verify their customers’ identities and onboard them, perform standard and enhanced due diligence, screen individuals and businesses against watchlists, monitor their payments, create and solve compliance cases, and report suspicious activities to regulators. The client can integrate it via API (application programming interface) or use it as a web application, or SDK.
So far it counts Arival, a digital bank for emerging industries, and Clos, a social network for creators for user verification, among its clients.
“I permanently moved to the U.S. in 2017. But I struggled to get the proper attention from VCs: I fell into several categories that were unpopular with venture investors at the same time, such as being a female founder, an immigrant founder and a founder without technical expertise," Romanovskaya told TechCrunch. "The company that I bootstrapped grew organically until the COVID-19 pandemic killed it. I used the 2020 lockdown to study data science and learn to code, and became a data engineer. In September 2020 I founded A.ID."
Romanovskaya became a Twitter celebrity Russia when she co-founded a satirical political account criticizing the Kremlin, which had 2 million followers at its peak. In 2016, she co-founded Nimb, a fashionable smart ring with a built-in panic button aimed at women.
A.ID is headquartered in Los Angeles. The European branch operates in the EU with an office in Lithuania.