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Startup Footprint Tackles Identity Verification

Early-stage startup Footprint's goal is to provide tools that change how enterprises verify, authentication, authorize, and secure identity.

Whenever a person walks into a financial services institution to open a bank account, apply for a loan, or obtain a credit card, that institution needs to first verify that person’s identity. Personal information is typically supplied by the person filling out the form, and then the institution matches the information against a series of databases. This process is repeated for every transaction, even if it's within the same institution.

The current system can tell that a real person is trying to open an account, but it doesn’t actually verify whether the person who is submitting the information is really the person whose information was provided.

Footprint, which announced a $6 million seed investment on Wednesday, wants to solve this problem. The startup intends to change how identity verification is performed by giving enterprises the tools to verify, authenticate, authorize, and secure identity. 

The company relies on cryptography to tokenize identity and uses cutting-edge biometric scans, liveness checks, and peer-to-peer verification to validate people are who they say they are. The approach is similar to Apple Pay in that personally identifiable information (PII) – such as a Social Security number, date of birth, email address, and phone number – is encrypted and stored in a secure enclave on the user’s mobile device. The enclave is backed by hardware-level cryptographic attestation, the company says. Each user has a private key pair for access, and Footprint uses FaceID, TouchID, and other technologies to verify the authenticity of the person.

The tools would address challenges related to know-your-customer verification processes, identity verification, and securely storing PII while keeping people in control of their identities, the company says. The organization won't actually have to collect or store PII. Footprint can pave the way for "a better OAUth for Fintech," the company stated in a press release.

The product is currently in early access release. The tool is expected to be generally available in the fall.

"Footprint up-levels the consumer experience by becoming their passport to the internet," the company said in the release.