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Smile ID News10 Jan 2024

Reflecting on 2023: Smile ID’s Rebirth and Transformation

Gift Arku

Marketing Intern

As we settle into the exciting journey of 2024, Smile ID reflects on a year of growth and transformation in 2023. Throughout the year, our focus on innovation, collaboration, and customer-centric solutions propelled us forward, resulting in numerous successes and milestones.


Here are some of our 2023 highlights.


The Big Brand Highlights


2023 started on a high; we announced our Series B raise of $20 million, marking a significant milestone as the highest funding ever secured by an IDV company focused on Africa.


Following the Series B raise, we strategically acquired Appruve's parent company (Inclusive Innovations, Inc.) to expand our reach across Africa, improve our product suite and integration methods, and reinforce our standing as the continent's premier provider of identity verification and digital KYC solutions.


These changes facilitated numerous improvements: developing new SDKs, a refreshed client portal, and more. 


In addition, we successfully attained SOC 2 Type 1 & 2 compliance by adhering to the standards set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for SOC for Service Organizations. Furthermore, we proudly secured ISO 27001 certification, underscoring our steadfast dedication to upholding and safeguarding information security for our valued customers and employees.


Lastly, we embraced a new era by updating our visual identity and shortening our name from Smile Identity to Smile ID. This change was accompanied by a refreshed logo and the launch of an updated website.



More Innovative Solutions 


The past year was a whirlwind of innovation and new releases for us, driven by the needs of our customers and our commitment to combating fraud and ensuring compliance across the continent.


Product Highlights Smile ID


Our product update journey began with introducing the Anti Money Laundering (AML) Check, seamlessly integrated into our SmartCheck tool on the Smile Identity portal. This powerful addition, accessible via API, empowers your team to navigate through 1100 sanctions, PEP, and adverse media watchlists, ensuring compliance with anti-money laundering laws across various African countries.


Building on the success of the AML Check, our Document Verification expanded globally, covering 8500+ ID documents across 226 countries. This upgrade facilitates seamless user onboarding, making it an invaluable asset for businesses expanding their footprint across Africa and beyond.


In response to our client's requests, Smile Links was born—a first-of-its-kind No-Code verification tool designed for African markets. With a few clicks, businesses can perform KYC effortlessly, minimising technical requirements and streamlining the verification process.


Continuing our quest for improvement, we rolled out new Mobile SDKs—smarter, faster, and more seamless than ever. For hands-on experience with these updates, check out our new demo app, which is available on the Playstore.


A significant leap forward came with the introduction of Smile Secure—a feature that scans all previously recognised faces in real-time, significantly reducing deduplication fraud. Notably, one of our partners, Paga, successfully apprehended a fraudster who had deceitfully registered with 150 BVNs, showcasing the tangible impact of our innovations.


In our commitment to continuous improvement, we introduced Enhanced DocV a few months after our Global DocV release. Combining our DocV solution with a Government database lookup, this multi-factor authentication check elevates security in your onboarding process to new heights.


Still in the business of continuous improvement to existing products, our Business Verification solution is now asynchronous to guarantee responses regardless of ID authority availability. 


Simultaneously, our web component underwent a facelift, enhancing the overall user experience with sleeker Web SDKs. Our machine learning algorithm evolved, incorporating automation to reject low-light and cropped selfies, ensuring heightened accuracy in identity verification.


Amidst these significant innovations, our dedicated team tirelessly supported every client, addressing concerns and keeping them informed about options. With hundreds of minor updates, we solidified our promise to be your foremost trusted identity verification provider.


Collaboration, events and touchpoints 


Throughout the year, we actively participated in collaborative initiatives, events, and engagements across Africa, aiming to educate and support business leaders and stakeholders in streamlining their onboarding processes and preventing fraud while ensuring compliance. Here's a breakdown of some noteworthy collaborations and events:


  • Sponsored Events: In 2023, we participated in over 20 events, including a partnership with Paystack for an in-person meetup in Lagos and an online webinar, the Africa Fintech Summit in Lusaka, the 13th Africa Bank Summit in Lagos, the ID4Africa meetup in Nairobi, and Tech in Ghana in London, among others.  Additionally, we organised up to 10 webinars throughout the year. These engagements allowed us to connect with current and potential customers.


  • Media Coverage: Our CEO, Mark, took the spotlight on Arise News multiple times and was featured in numerous podcasts, including Talent in Cloud and Everywhere Ventures. Our presence extended to globally recognised press houses like Techcabal, TechCrunch, MarketWatch, Yahoo News, TechSafari, Benjamin Dada, BFTonline, Business Day, Business Insider, Disrupt Africa, and more.

These collaborative efforts played a pivotal role in expanding our customer base across Africa.

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Guides, Reports and Case Studies 


In July 2023, we unveiled our comprehensive State of KYC report, a detailed analysis exploring identity verification trends across 13 African countries. This report sheds light on fraud patterns and offers valuable insights for businesses to fortify their operations through identity verification strategies.


Following the success of this report, we delved deeper into reports on specific African countries, crafting detailed KYC guides for RwandaCote d'IvoireSouth AfricaTanzania, and Zambia. These country-specific guides aim to equip businesses with precise knowledge essential for expansion in these regions.


Recognising a common question we get from our partners, we produced one more guide addressing everything you need to know when selecting a KYC provider — The Ultimate KYC Checklist.


In addition to these guides, we highlighted impactful success stories of our partners navigating and thriving in our challenging ecosystem. Companies like Flutterwave, Paga, MarketForce, and Bridgecard are among those we showcased, emphasising how our collaboration contributed to their success.


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Going forward


After a rewarding year; in November 2023, the team embarked on a week-long retreat in Kigali, Rwanda. This retreat aimed to foster synergy, set priorities for the upcoming year, and facilitate in-person connections crucial for our async team dynamic. The retreat left us re-energized and prepared to conclude the quarter while laying the groundwork for 2024.


Feeling energised and empowered, we anticipate that 2024 will surpass expectations. We extend our deepest gratitude to our partners, well-wishers, investors, and friends whose support made 2023 a remarkable year. We're excited to unfold our plans for the upcoming year, promising even more significant product updates and another significant growth in our total number of identity checks.

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