iProov is a global leader in biometric authentication technology, enabling third parties to verify the online presence of customers via any screen-based device. Its patented Flashmark technology is used by a wide range of customers from governments in border control to financial services companies in ID verification and customer authentication.
We spoke to Andrew Bud, chief executive and founder of iProov, about the company's growth plans and its commitment to the UK.
What does your company do?
“Our mission is to support trust in the online economy by ensuring the genuine presence of an online user. We have invented, developed and patented a face verification technology we call Flashmark technology which uses the screen of the user's device to illuminate their face with a sequence of colours. Video of their face is then transmitted back to our servers where we can tell whether or not we are looking at a face that is genuine and a face that is present. It works across all devices regardless of the technology or platform.
You are based in the UK. Tell us about your UK operations.
“Today we are entirely based in the UK. We have about 32 staff and we are growing very quickly. We will be an anchor tenant in the brand new WeWork building in London which is the largest co-working space in the world.”
Why did you choose the UK as your global base?
“There are a few reasons.
The quality of computer science expertise that we were able to get in the UK in general and in London in particular through our links with University College London's computer science department was unrivalled. UCL is one of the top 10 computer science faculties in the world. That is academic expertise. But the pool of skilled staff in technology, marketing, sales and operations that we can access here in London is unrivalled anywhere else.
What we did was extremely research and technology intensive and would have been extraordinarily difficult to finance had it not been for the numerous grants we received from Innovate UK, the UK innovation agency that supports science and technology innovations.
UK law and UK courts have amongst the highest reputation for business suitability and integrity anywhere in the world. One of our US customers told us that the only jurisdiction other than New York that they were prepared to consider forming a contract in was London.”
A third reason is that we were able to secure investment on reasonable terms despite the relatively high risk of our business thanks to investor support from the UK's Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). All of our investment up until now has come from investors who benefit from the EIS scheme, which offers tax benefits for qualifying investments.
Also we were able to set up UK contracts with our overseas customers under UK law. UK law and UK courts have amongst the highest reputation for business suitability and integrity anywhere in the world. One of our US customers told us that the only jurisdiction other than New York that they were prepared to consider forming a contract in was London.”
What are your company's growth plans?
“This market is just taking off now. Potentially it will be used everywhere where somebody has to authenticate their identity in an unsupervised environment.
We already have customers in the United States, South Africa and the Middle East and we have been investing quite heavily in expanding our presence in the United States, in building a presence in India and expanding our market in the Far East and in other parts of the Americas too.
But the company's main operating base and headquarters are in London and will remain in London.”