Little-Known Identity & Auth Startup From Bangalore Wins RBI's Payment Innovation Contest – Meet Signzy

I have heard this saying a few times in the last five years that Payments without authentication is just accounting. Identification and authentication is a very important sector of the payments industry and also the broader FinTech sector. In a country like India where a revolution is beginning around digital onboarding and eKYC, this segment is clearly one to watch out for. Also, as the industry is moving towards EMV chip technology for offline, CNP (card-not-present) fraud is increasing (online). There are several companies that are coming up with various solutions on how to tackle the issues related to it. Some financial Institutions and FinTech startups are looking at ways to leverage blockchain in the area of identity and authentication. Please meet one such company from India called Signzy, which recently won RBI’s (Reserve Bank of India, the regulator) Payment System Innovation Contest. The competition organized by IDRBT included entries from HDFC, Yes, ICICI and some other Industry veterans that made it to its final round. Signzy was the only startup with a blockchain-based solution which made it in the final round and went on to win the competition. The company presented its innovation titled Cloud-Based Mobile On-boarding Enabled by Biometrics and Advanced Cryptography at the competition. RBI is trying to study and understand blockchain and this contest with Signzy as the winner signifies developments in that area.

Signzy, which is a startup from Bangalore, is a digital trust system. The company provides Identification, background checks, forgery detection and contract management systems which enable contracting in a trustable, safe, legal and convenient manner. Signzy’s unique online contracting solution uses the latest technology like biometric signature and blockchain to complete the entire online digital trust system. Its biometric user authentication system and blockchain-based digital trail ensure non-repudiation.

The company’s verification APIs replicate human-like intelligence in detecting the authenticity of information and digital forgery of documents, which go undetected by the human eye. The cloud API-based background checks ensure compliance to strictest Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) norms, even with low operation resources.

Its founding team comprises of serial entrepreneurs from IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur – Ankit Ratan, Arpit Ratan and Ankur Pandey.

Ankit Ratan: Alumnus of IIT Delhi. Prior to founding Signzy, Ankit co-founded advanced data analytics firm CrossLink Analytics Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Arpit Ratan: Has over five years of experience in corporate law and is a partner at OJAS Legel. He has keen interest in financial regulations and technology and therefore, advises several startups on the newly emerging field of FinTech and other technologies.

Ankur Pandey: Ankur completed his B.Tech from the prestigious IIT Kharagpur. He has previously founded an education management firm called Signzy is working with Indian FinTech players in lending and payment instruments.

Some of the solutions offered by the company:

  1. Guarantee non-repudiation in contracts: The company’s proprietary system ensures that the contracts stand legal scrutiny and offer enhanced protection against fraud.
  2. Sign verified contracts: Verify identity without revealing it to the other party and protects clients’ sensitive information and allows them to sign secure contracts.
  3. Eliminates printing, scanning, courier and manual filing by storing the contracts in their secure database.

According to IRDBT, the innovation arm of RBI, the main advantages provided by the company are:

  • Signzy solves critical trust issues for all three stakeholders – customers, banks and regulators.
  • Digital verification enhances customer experience and protects user privacy as there is no manual data collection.
  • An AI-assisted screening approach reduces chances of human fraud and minimizes operation efforts for banks, thereby allowing bank-ops to support a digital banking scenario.
  • Blockchain protocol creates a complete digital trail of the individual/company’s identity, background information and online transactions. The protocol is so structured that it allows for sharing of information without compromising user privacy or creating a complicated regulatory mechanism

In a summary, it’s a user-friendly technology that brings greater trust in modern digital banking by reducing risks of identity theft, money-laundering and fraud. The field of identity and authentication holds tremendous potential in the future. Companies like Trulioo have raised millions of dollars to solve the online identity verification problem. The increasing focus on digital services that businesses and institutions provide has created a growing need for certainty about the identity of their online customers and users. This is a segment to watch out for...

Disclaimer: I serve in the capacity of an advisor to Signzy.