We talked to Domantas Čiuldė of iDenfy about identity verification, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Domantas Čiuldė: My family and I are doing well. Coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact on our personal life. We miss public gathering spaces across Lithuania, but we accept the situation as it is.
I’m positively looking at this period: this outbreak gave me more opportunities to spend time together as a family. During physical distancing, we still find out many things that we can do together. We play family board games together or go for a walk or bike ride together where we can keep a responsible distance from other people.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded iDenfy.
Domantas Čiuldė: I have always been inspired by cybersecurity, black markets researching, fraud detection, and prevention. The initial idea was born in 2015 to create a system to fight against credit card fraud. After researching, we found that the best method to defend against credit card fraud is identity verification. After a long computer vision and machine learning studies, an online ID verification system prototype was created in the same year. The primitive prototype was only able to recognize passports from one country, but even with a primitive prototype during 2016, we successfully found our first clients who became our first investors.
How does iDenfy innovate?
Domantas Čiuldė: iDenfy provides a certified identity verification service. We combine advanced Liveness Detection, ID Verification, and three different face recognition systems to achieve the highest accuracy. Also, during the time we found that hackers, fraudsters found ways to bypass traditional identity verification methods which are proposed by governments, we innovate every day by adding new security features to detect and stop fraudulent identity verifications.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Domantas Čiuldė: Because of the global pandemic, we face challenges just as the rest of the world. We felt the impact of the pandemic at the start of it. Verifications volume decreased, meaning that our partners felt the same – fewer people were onboarding their platforms. Later on, it got back to normal and even better to some degree. New innovations are born in challenging times. For example, this crisis inspired us, along with Kaunas Science, and Technology Park, to develop an electronic immunity passport, which helps determine if the person is safe and eligible to enter public places after a test or vaccine. Such innovation would allow individuals to participate in public life and return without risk.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Domantas Čiuldė: During the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to start working remotely. This was something new and a bit scary as we are more like a family than a team. From day one, we were together in our office, helping each other, and seeing each other every day. Major changes in the family bring fear of the unknown, like what performance will be, how team members will feel, how meetings, brainstorming sessions will be effective and productive. But after we started remote work, we saw that performance while working remotely grew – team members were happier to work from their chill places, and to be honest, brainstorming became more effective. We’ve learned that you should try new things, even when you are scared because it could deliver better results which you were not expecting.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Domantas Čiuldė: The stress of the unknown and spending too much time at homemade everyone feel a little bit stressed. My advice is to focus your time and energy on things that make you feel better for anyone who deals with it. Look for the positives in life and things for which you’re grateful.
Create a daily routine that works for you. It helped me to get more done and re-balance work from home. To do this while having children with you all the time is not easy, but it’s a must. Nobody knows when the war against coronavirus will end, but if we join in the fight with a positive mood – we will win.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Domantas Čiuldė: We have big dreams for this market; as a startup, we are trying to focus on competitors like Onfido, Jumio, Trulioo, Shuftipro. The identity verification market is growing every day; there is a big competition. Most of the competitors in our market are big corporations, their goal is to generate more revenue, but we always tried to look from another angle. We developed our software, pricing models, and communication to meet our customers’ needs. We invested not in marketing but in technology development; not in the sales team and sales strategies but in researching and communicating: what would make our customers’ life more comfortable? We invested not in customers’ onboarding standards and procedures, but ever since the beginning, we spent time with every customer as they would be our only one’s customers. Also, most of our competitors are focusing only on identity verification; we are looking more broadly, not only how to verify customers, but also how to defend from smart fraudsters.