The lack of universal identification inspires the 2017 launch of Smile Identity. According to the World Bank, about half of the one billion people without identification worldwide reside in Africa.
The parent company of Appruve, Inclusive Innovations, a Ghana-based provider of ID verification, has been bought by Smile Identity. Smile Identity claims that acquisition will strengthen its position in Ghana and other francophone African countries like Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal.
The ID verification company announced in February that it would expand its current staff in East, West, and Southern Africa in order to complete its pan-African reach. The company also revealed ambitions to enter the Francophone and Arab-speaking markets through localized sales and support. At the time, Smile Identity claimed to have created offices in London and Cape Town, and expanded into South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria.
Smile Identity was Appruve’s first client when Paul Damalie founded the company in 2018. Over time, both businesses have benefited from one another’s technology and experience to better serve their clients.
Mark Straub, CEO of Smile Identity is of the opinion that the acquisition will provide insights on the likely road to addressing digital identity across Africa. He is convinced combining both businesses and teams now makes the greatest financial sense.
With senior Appruve employees becoming shareholders in Smile Identity and the majority of the Appruve team remaining on board, this acquisition is a cash and stock arrangement.
By acquiring the parent company of Appruve, Smile Identity also hopes to give its clients access to a wider range of services in the upcoming months. Such services will include business lending, stock trading, and onboarding into payment systems like mobile money, bank accounts, and international payments and remittances.
The united organization will now handle over 230 document and data formats with integration possibilities for every device and operating system combination in Africa, as well as over 1 billion Africans, the African diaspora, and 100 mil African enterprises.
By collaborating with Appruve, a larger portfolio of APIs, including mobile money, data, and anti-fraud checks, is made available to customers, giving them access to a more complete digital identity verification solution.