In 2017, we set out to change how identity and reputation is established online. I was driven by my personal experience as an immigrant, continually shut out from financial services because of my “thin file.” I experienced a lot of frustration and red tape, but I knew these challenges were much worse for others. I wanted to address this problem by tackling its root cause: inadequate identity infrastructure.
Identity infrastructure is like a winding river with its data flowing into and powering all formal interactions. Waterfalling between databases of various private and public entities, unique ID data is eventually used to grant access to online services, help employees get hired and support entrepreneurs in securing business loans. Over the past three years, our team has learned how complex the identity waterfall really is — and just how many people and companies are excluded from it, especially in regions like Latin America, Africa, and India.
Digital identity is necessary to form trust between two strangers. Unfortunately, most identity data is either stuck in closed-off silos like banks or government databases, or is not digitized and therefore hard to prove, like financial or education history.
We wanted to create a layer of online identity and reputation that better resembles twenty-first century infrastructure — a layer that can scale to every person and power any formal interaction. By building simple developer tools, we imagined we will help online services and marketplaces spread to every country. By focusing on user privacy, we hoped to give back the consumers their ID data, and help new interactions emerge online.
Hundreds of companies across dozens of countries have since used Mati to start and scale trusted services – from bold startups like Eversend, to established entities like Allianz. Even though it’s early days, we’ve already helped entrepreneurs and users connect in places and in ways they previously couldn’t.
Today, I’m excited to announce that Mati has raised a $13.5 million round of financing. Tribe Capital’s Arjun Sethi led the round and is joining our board, among over a dozen new and existing investors that share our vision for the borderless trust economy.
I’m thrilled to continue building our digital identity infrastructure and working towards this vision. The more people are equipped to access their own data, the more exciting this world is going to get. The FinTech industry has been on the rise for the better part of the past decade, but still, most people remain excluded from its reach. The last 10 years have also seen a debut of many new marketplaces, like the gig and sharing economies, but their potential remains relatively untapped.
At Mati, we believe that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what we can enable people to do online once they’re transformed into trustworthy individuals. The new capital will fuel our growth and product development, and in turn, our impact on the trust economy — the next form of the evolution in online interactions.