The accelerated shift toward digital solutions and services has brought digital identity to the forefront, with the U.S. digital identity market projected to increase to $30B+ by 2023, according to One World Identity. Trulioo is enabling companies to reliably onboard customers in a digital-first world, while speeding up international expansion, mitigating fraud risk and ensuring regulatory compliance. 

We recently caught up with Steve Munford, CEO of Trulioo, to discuss the company’s $394M in Series D funding, democratization of financial services, the rise of cryptocurrencies and more.

What does your Series D funding mean for Trulioo and the RegTech industry?

This funding allows Trulioo to achieve our long-term vision to build an end-to-end digital identity platform that will make it possible for organizations all around the world to reliably and seamlessly verify identities. In addition, we’ll be able to continue building up our engineering capabilities and investing in product innovation, in particular, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, while we optimize our go-to-market strategy to expand into new emerging markets and verticals. Last but not least, we will grow our workforce in our satellite offices in Dublin, Austin and San Diego and work towards establishing a presence in Asia. 

The RegTech industry is one of the fastest growing globally due to the rapid changes in the regulatory landscape. For example, a growing number of consumer privacy laws are being introduced like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

These regulations emphasize the need for innovative solutions that will enable companies to meet compliance requirements while delivering a first-class online experience. 

Implementing a strategic identity verification program is crucial for organizations who need to responsibly collect consumer data for Know Your Customer (KYC) or Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance. 

Overall, maintaining trust and safety in the digital economy is of paramount interest for organizations who need to safely and securely onboard users. 

New technologies and business models are opening up economic opportunities for many more people, democratizing financial services. What does the financial services industry need to do to increase access to advanced financial tools?

With more businesses and customers moving online, the onus is on organizations to deliver simple, quick and seamless onboarding experiences while ensuring information is safe. 

For financial institutions, adopting emerging technologies enables them to expand customer relationships, acquire more customers online, increase revenue and profitability, and deliver new services and innovative offerings without all the time and cost of traditional customer acquisition. At the same time, consumers get more access to safer and simpler onboarding experiences.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are financial instruments not created by central banks and large institutions, but by code that (theoretically) can be run on any computer. What are the issues around protecting cryptocurrency exchanges from cyber criminals and why is online identity verification such a crucial tool?

Any time there’s money involved an opportunity for perpetrating various financial crimes exists. While cryptocurrency presents an easy and quick way to transfer value for legitimate uses, money launderers and bad actors trying to hide transactions will seek to exploit blockchain technology for nefarious purposes.

Just as regulators require due diligence and monitoring of banking and payment accounts, they want to know that crypto accounts are not being used to launder the proceeds of crime or perpetrate other financial crimes.

This is demonstrated by a series of recent ransomware scandals and the use of Bitcoin to pay off the hackers. If criminals think they can get away with crimes by using Bitcoin, they’re going to do it. That’s not good for exchanges nor the entire industry.

Naturally, exchanges need to understand who they are dealing with and the type of transactions being processed on its platforms. It starts with strong KYC measures with effective identity verification at its foundation. It’s also about understanding and being able to detect fraud signals or suspicious patterns and monitoring transactions to ensure they’re legitimate.

Exchanges won’t be the only industry players under scrutiny. For example, regulators are already looking at wallet providers and at some point any onramp or offramp that involves money and is a potential criminal loophole will need to meet compliance requirements.

How has COVID affected Trulioo and the market?

The global pandemic has pushed identity verification technology to the forefront for businesses and service providers. Over the past few years, we’ve experienced exponential growth as the industry continues to expand and businesses become more conscientious of looming fraud threats. Now more than ever, companies that are onboarding users and transacting online need to be both incredibly strategic and judicious about how they approach identity verification as bad actors develop increasingly sophisticated tactics for nefarious activities. 

As a CEO at a high-growth company, what is one tip that you have for new founders and CEOs just starting their journeys?

One piece of advice that I can give to other CEOs or new founders is to ensure they are building a team that offers diverse talents that complement each other’s skill sets. It is also highly important to have a team that reflects the business’s culture and puts customers first.

Steve, thanks for taking the time to share your insights and advice. We are proud to support your mission and growth ahead. Learn more about Trulioo and its commitment to building trust online.