Smile Identity lays off eight employees as it increases its ‘focus on profitability’

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Smile Identity lays off eight employees as it increases its ‘focus on profitability’


Smile Identity, a KYC compliance and ID verification startup, has laid off eight employees in what it says is a move to achieve its profitability targets.

Smile Identity helps startups like banks and fintechs perform identity checks for their customers and is one of the most recognisable names in the ID verification industry. The company confirmed to TechCabal that it laid off eight employees early in June.

Part of the company’s email to TechCabal said, “To better navigate the changing macroeconomic landscape of the tech startup world, we decided to reduce our team size to focus on profitability and product development. We let go of 8 employees, representing less than 10% of our workforce.”

The layoffs will come as a surprise to many, given that the company announced the completion of a $20 million Series B round funding in February 2023. Per TechCrunch, Smile Identity said the funding would be used to ramp up hiring efforts in East, Southern and Western Africa in line with its goal of expanding further along the continent. In April 2023, the startup acquired the Ghanaian identity verification software, Appruve, to expand its footprints across Africa and solidify its position as the continent’s leading identity verification and digital KYC provider.

Smile Identity, founded by Mark Straub and William Bares, has been a major player in the African KYC space since 2017. Four years after its launch, Smile Identity is active in six African markets: Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda. It performs over a million identity checks monthly and has covered 250 million identities, serving clients like Paystack, Binance, Kuda, Paxful, and Chippercash, among others.

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