Identity company, Seamfix, raises $4.5 million in first funding round to expand outside Nigeria

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Identity company, Seamfix, raises $4.5 million in first funding round to expand outside Nigeria

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Seamfix, a 17-year-old identity solutions company, has raised $4.5 million in funding from Alitheia IDF, its first institutional investor as it looks to expand its business outside Nigeria.

Chimezie Emewulu, the company’s co-founder and CEO, told TechCabal that the company raised the funding to expand into more stable African markets as the fluctuation of the naira has impacted the dollar growth of company revenue. Seamfix will expand to Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.

“From a naira perspective, we see that we are growing year over year but from a dollar perspective, we’re going backwards,” he said. In the past year, the Naira has sharply lost its value against the greenback following two devaluations by the Tinubu administration. “That’s why we deliberately decided to start expanding to other countries so that we can earn more in forex,” Emewelu added.

Seamfix creates digital identities and verification for large organisations and governments in Africa. The company also provides transaction accreditation solutions for these customers. It is already present in Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia, and also leverages its partnership with the MTN group to provide its identity solution in countries where the telco is present.

Digital identity remains a significant problem in Africa, as 542 million people do not have identity cards. Solving the identity problem in Africa would help countries boost GDP growth by as much as 7% but it will cost an estimated $6 billion.

Seamfix will also use the funding to build a pan-African Pan identity switch that will allow for cross-border identity verification on the continent.

Since its inception, Seamfix has built identity solutions for Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission [NIMC], MTN, Glo, Airtel and financial institutions like United Bank for Africa, Interswitch and Union Bank. Its partnership with NIMC helped over 100 million Nigerians acquire national identification numbers, while it helped telcos register their 200 million customers in compliance with regulatory standards.

Seamfix makes money by selling its identity solution to organisations, charging customers for verifying their identity, selling yearly licenses to organisations that access its database of identities, and charging for API calls. Emewelu told TechCabal that the company has processed more than 500 million identities.

Founded by Chimezie Emewulu and Chibuzor Onwurah, classmates who wanted to ‘seamlessly fix’ problems with technology, Seamfix initially built custom products that digitised the workflow of organisations but pivoted to building identity management solutions in 2015.

Emewulu told TechCabal that a client project, which involved building a solution that allowed university students to take exams online, made Seamfix realise the identity problem on the continent after students were caught impersonating other students during papers.

“We implemented a biometric system that took pictures and fingerprint data. Anytime the students show up again under capture, the fingerprint system will generate evidence that this person has come before,” he said. After initial success with the identity verification solution, Seamfix partnered with 9 Mobile to register its customers.

However, it took until 2015, when Seamfix helped MTN Nigeria reduce an initial $5.2 billion fine to $1.7 billion by bringing its customer registration process up to regulatory standards, that the company’s solution achieved significant market penetration.

Tokunboh Ishmael, the co-founder and principal partner of Alitheia Capital, and Frank Atube, the chief operating officer of Seamfix, will join the company’s board.

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