BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Meet Obi, a tech entrepreneur providing cybercrime solutions

David Obi is a tech entrepreneur and the co-founder of the compliance and security infrastructure platform known as IdentityPass – a tested and credible tech solution to identity theft and a reliable platform to curb cybercrime.

Through the lens of experience in cybersecurity, Obi and his other co-founders discovered that Regulatory Technology (RegTech) is quickly becoming a very important area of technology in Africa; with the rapid advancements in the tech sector.

In 2021, IdentityPass start-up funding grew by 42.1percent despite the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. RegTech is a class of software applications for managing regulatory compliance with new prudential requirements.

“We launched IdentityPass officially in 2021, a product under the company name Mainline Digital. Although we started as a payment platform, during the processing of the payment, we discovered the need to verify who is paying and ensure transactions are secure.

“This discovery birthed IdentityPass, we immediately figured it was an untapped opportunity and transitioned into a security and compliance company,” Obi said.

The serial entrepreneur explained that the IdentityPass was born from their strong need to ensure that personal and corporate in cyberspace are protected.

“The rest of the co-founders – Lanre Ogungbe, Tolu Adetuyi, and Niyi Adegboye had previously worked in the tech space. Two of the co-founders came from Accounteer and another from Moneypoint,” he said.

“We channelled our enthusiasm combined with the experience we garnered from our previous roles into building IdentityPass. The combined effort is what has led to this point of growth,” he added.

The chief technology officer of Mainline Digitech pointed out wide data point access as the edge the product has over its contemporaries.

“In the simplest term possible, our single most important differentiator is our wide data point access. Currently, we have access to verify 6,500 different IDs across Africa.”

Speaking about the challenges confronting the firm, the alumnus of the YCombinator (W22) accelerator programme said that the challenges experienced at IdentityPass lie in traditional businesses.

Read also: FG ratifies international legal instrument on cybercrime

He reiterated that traditional businesses do not have digital data, most of their records are written on paper, and hence difficult to extract the data. Besides, it would cost so much time and resources to bring this data online.

However, Obi was proud to speak of the growth of the firm in the face of its numerous challenges.

“I can speak of our growth in terms of numbers. Since our inception, we have grown to over 400 businesses that we work with, with 1.5 million unique verifications monthly and we are serving over 35 countries all around Africa. We have also raised over $3 million and remain the company with the largest data point in Africa,” he said.

Moreover, he called on the federal government to significantly alleviate this issue by providing an enabling environment by bridging the country’s huge infrastructural gaps because it is not enough for data to be stored digitally, it must also be able to be retrieved and transmitted without hassle.

The serial entrepreneur unveiled some of the reasons for the failure of many start-up companies.

“Once you identify a real problem and find a sizable market and an untapped niche, you’ll certainly thrive. Most founders obsess over the product at the beginning and that is just the wrong approach. It all stems from the problem,” he noted.

According to Obi, in the next five years, IdentityPass is looking forward to an IPO, more than a billion dollar valuation and hundreds of thousands of customers.

“The goal of developing Africa is all-encompassing and it includes both tech and industrialization. I am looking forward to meeting that need.”

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