The millennial founders of buzzy AI startup Onfido landed $100 million despite the pandemic, and say it's because security is vital
Buzzy AI security firm Onfido has raised $100 million in a funding round backed entirely by private equity firm TPG Capital, which has previously invested in Spotify and Uber. The firm was founded in 2012 by Oxford graduates Ruhul Amin, Husayn Kassai, and Eamon Jubbawy. CEO Kassai told Business Insider what it was like to tie up a funding round as a global pandemic took hold. Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Buzzy AI security startup Onfido has raised $100 million in a fundraising round led by TPG Capital. Founded in 2012 by three Oxford graduates Ruhul Amin, Husayn Kassai, and Eamon Jubbawy, the firm's software uses artificial intelligence to help verify people's identities for financial services, gaming, and other industries. Identity fraud is the largest crime in the US and one of the fastest-growing in the world as an increasing number of firms move online. The UN estimates that up to 5% of the world's GDP ($2 trillion) is laundered money, of which 99% goes undetected. With more than 400 employees based in nine offices around the world, Onfido counts fintech unicorn Revolut, sports betting firm DraftKings and car-rental service Zipcar among its biggest clients. Business Insider recently revealed the firm was in talks with the US government to design "immunity passports" for those that had recovered from COVID-19. Speaking to Business Insider, CEO Kassai revealed what it was like to tie up a funding round as a global pandemic took hold. "We started in January, when things weren't nearly so bad," he said. "But as we moved into March, of course, it was suddenly on everybody's mind. "I think we're lucky to be in a bracket that investors considered to be important moving forward: security. "Coronavirus has forced millions of people to either work from home or, at least, spend a lot more time online...so it becomes all the more important to make sure people feel secure." He added: "We're standardizing the way we prove our real identity, in a similar way to how Facebook has standardized the way we share our social identity, and LinkedIn has standardized the way we signal our professional identity." Unusually, the $100 million round is backed solely by TPG, which has previously invested in Uber, Spotify and Airbnb. "Onfido's use of AI to develop market leading tech is extraordinary," said Mike Zappert, partner at TPG Growth. "There is tremendous demand for seamless and simple identity verification and authentication across major sectors and we see them becoming the new standard for digital access." The firm confirmed to Business Insider it had recently held talks with the US government on helping to roll out a coronavirus "immunity passport" in the coming months. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
More like this (3)
4 Schulte Roth partners who rep lenders like Cerberus and Sixth Street Partners are moving to Proskauer after a dispute over firm leadership
A number of partners in Schulte Roth & Zabel's finance group including chair Frederic Ragucci are...A number of partners in Schulte Roth & Zabel's finance group including chair Frederic Ragucci are leaving for Proskauer Rose. The partners have represented direct lenders and other non-bank sources of capital that have historically financed middle-market companies, but have more recently extended credit to major companies. Sources told Business Insider that Ragucci had disagreements with firm leaders and stepped down from the firm's executive committee. Schulte Roth said it remains strong and would be adding more finance lawyers to its team. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Four partners in the finance practice at Schulte Roth & Zabel — including its chair, Frederic Ragucci — are moving to Proskauer Rose, Business Insider has learned. The four partners also include Michael Mezzacappa, the co-head of the finance group, and Marc Freiss and Ji Hye You, according to three people with knowledge of the move. Two of the people said Ragucci, a longtime partner at the firm, was partly motivated to leave by a dispute with firm leaders. The four lawyers have represented major business lenders including MGG Investment Group, Sixth Street Partners, which recently separated from the private-equity giant TPG Capital, and Cerberus Business Finance, a major middle-market lender, records show. Two of the people estimated that the four lawyers together brought in $15 million to $30 million in business per year. The team notified Schulte in late May that they would be leaving, one of the people said, and plan to start very soon at Proskauer, said another. Their planned move would grow that firm's finance practice, which is known for representing lenders on hundreds of private credit deals. Two people said Ragucci clashed with firm leaders and stepped down from the executive committee months ago. One said he disagreed with the decision to have two partners from Schulte's investment management practices succeed Alan Waldenberg as co-managing partners instead of including a partner from another practice. Ragucci and media representatives for Proskauer declined to comment. Schulte, which the American Lawyer reported had revenue of $465 million last year and made profits that averaged over $3 million for each equity partner, has expressed confidence in its ability to ride out the pandemic and has been hiring partners, including a finance partner in London. The firm is known for its frequent representation of hedge funds and its longstanding relationship with Cerberus Capital Management. In a recent interview with Law.com, the two new managing partners, David Efron and Marc Elovitz, said they hadn't cut compensation or delayed partner draws, as many law firms have, and said they weren't interested in the prospect of merging with another law firm. The firm's headcount has hung steady at about 350 lawyers over the past five years, with around 300 of them in New York. A Schulte spokesman said in a statement that the firm will regrow its finance practice, noting the recent additions of partners Paula-Marie O'Brien and Andrea Mandell. "Schulte Roth & Zabel is a strong firm... with a long history of providing best-in-class counsel to our global clients," the statement said. "We are committee to continuing to grow our finance practice and to adding top-tier attorneys across practice groups to our expanding firm." Proskauer, for its part, has about twice as many lawyers at Schulte and recorded over $1 billion in revenue last year, with profits per equity partner of $2.75 million, according to the American Lawyer. Its private credit lawyers represent 75 direct lenders on some 200 transactions a year, according to its website, and is led by partners Stephen Boyko and Steven Ellis, who is also the firm's chairman. The firm's website records 62 lawyers in the private-credit group, the biggest group of whom are in Boston.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How waste is dealt with on the world's largest cruise ship
The top 20 most valuable venture-backed AI companies, including Palantir, UiPath, and Databricks — valued at $120 billion total (UBER, GOOG)
A list of the 20 most valuable venture-backed companies in artificial intelligence boasts a combined valuation...A list of the 20 most valuable venture-backed companies in artificial intelligence boasts a combined valuation of some $120 billion. Most of the list are privately-held startups; some of them — namely Waymo and Uber Advanced Technology Group — are subsidiaries of much larger companies, but that are said to be eyeing IPOs of their own. Investment remains robust despite an uncertain economy, a reflection of the great potential of AI innovation, analysts say. Seven of the 20 make autonomous car technology, a challenging field that will require time to mature. Other technologies on the list include AI applications to farming, data management, hiring, and writing. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In an uncertain economy where valuations are slipping, the 20 highest-valued venture-backed companies in artificial intelligence combined are worth about a staggering $120 billion, according to PitchBook, in a reflection of the promising innovation of the sector. To put it in perspective, these 20 young companies — many that have yet to produce actual products — are worth more than Ford, American Express, and US Steel combined. Top startups also continue to close major fundraising rounds and command multi-billion valuations for technology ranging from automation tools to self-driving cars. And despite the economic headwinds caused by the coronavirus pandemic, expert studies and venture capitalists say the market remains steady. "All the fundamental parts of the innovation cycle that have AI broadly employed in it are somewhat untouched by a COVID-like pandemic scenario," said Rohit Sharma, a partner at early stage VC firm True Ventures. "We don't really see a slowdown or any kind of impact." But there are obstacles ahead for even the most valuable startups. Seven of the 20 top, according to data provided by PitchBook, are builders of self-driving car technology, which experts say is a sector that demands capital and patience — two things that could be in shorter supply in a jittery recession. "A lot of the business case assumptions and model assumptions, historically, have started to fall apart as people really started to realize just how challenging this robo-taxi problem really is," Austin Russell, CEO of Luminar, told Business Insider's Troy Wolverton recently. Most of the companies on this list are relatively small, independently-held startups. Notably, however, a few of the companies on PitchBook's list are independent subsidiaries of larger organizations — at the top of the list is Waymo, which began as Google's self-driving car unit, and is now reportedly mulling a public offering at some point in the future after raising venture cash all its own. Joining Waymo is Uber's own autonomous vehicle division – a separate entity from the ride-sharing firm with its own CEO and IPO possibilities. And Zoox may be the poster child for how challenging the market can be. Amazon reportedly bought the firm for far less than its previous valuation. Beyond the parking lot of autonomous cars are a variety of interesting companies, all using the tech in different ways. The one thing they have in common, however, is they are backed by wealth many other of tech would envy. Big-data company Palantir is beginning the process to go public. Other standouts on the list include AI farming startup Indigo Ag, hiring firm Checkr, and AI writing company Grammarly. All valuation data is from PitchBook. All companies asked to verify valuation, and where they did it is noted. Business Insider unpacked the top 20 most valuable, VC-backed AI companies below:Waymo: $30.75 billion CEO: John Krafcik Headquarters: Mountain View, California Total funding raised: $3 billion Last funding round: The company raised $3 billion of venture funding in a deal led by Silver Lake Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Mubadala Investment Company in May. Valuation: $30.75 billion Waymo is a self-driving car company that uses integrated sensors and artificial intelligence to detect pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and road workers, enabling users to travel on-demand in autonomous vehicles. In May, Waymo raised roughly $750 million, expanding the size of its first external investment round to $3 billion. Until last spring, Waymo had been funded entirely by Google and its corporate parent, Alphabet. Palantir Technologies: $20.33 billion CEO: Alex Karp Headquarters: Palo Alto, California Total funding raised: $3.35 billion Last funding round: The company received $549.73 million of financing from Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings on July 1. Valuation: $20.33 billion Palantir makes a data analysis platform that integrates, visualizes, secures and sifts through information. The company helps human experts evaluate data at scale through machine-assisted analysis. Some of that data sifting has led to controversy. Activists have protested Palantir for taking big government contracts to work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to fight undocumented immigration. Palantir's creators have in turn criticized tech companies that don't work with the US government. The company has confidentially filed a draft version of the paperwork for a public listing of its stock. The move sets Palantir up for what could be the highest-profile market debut of the year, after the coronavirus pandemic effectively froze the market for some of the most anticipated IPOs. Uber Advanced Technologies Group: $7.25 billion CEO: Eric Meyhofer Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Total funding raised: $1 billion Valuation: $7.25 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $1 billion of venture funding from Toyota Motor, Denso and SoftBank Investment Advisers in April of 2019. Uber Advanced Technologies Group – a separate entity from its parent company Uber – develops car technology for self-driving cars. The company's system uses various sensors and cameras to detect and analyze driving scenarios, enabling clients to create self-driving cars that reduce human error. Self-driving is notoriously expense to develop, but autonomy is also key to Uber's pitch to investors. The company has revealed that paying drivers is among its top expenses — removing them from the equation could help Uber reach profitability. UiPath: $7.1 billion CEO: Daniel Dines Headquarters: New York Total funding: $977.23 million Valuation: $7.1 billion Last funding round: The company raised $568 million through the combination of Series D-1 and Series D-2 venture funding in a deal led by Coatue Management in April of 2019. UiPath makes robotic automation software that performs tedious and redundant tasks. The company says it can help companies adapt to new needs with a configurable software platform that controls robotic machinery. The coronavirus pandemic could accelerate UiPath's plans to go public, CEO Danile Dines has said, predicting his firm "will have one of the biggest IPOs of 2021." Automation Anywhere: $6.8 billion CEO: Mihir Shukla Headquarters: San Jose, California Total funding: $840 million Valuation: $6.8 billion Last funding round: The company raised $290 million of Series B venture funding in a deal led by Salesforce Ventures in November of 2019. Automation Anywhere makes robotic process automation (RPA) software to augment the human workforce by automating repetitive business processes. The company's solution provides a platform for building and executing software bots powered by artificial intelligence, which the company says reduces costs and programming errors. The firm says stiff competition from Microsoft has forced it to invest more in research and development, and last spring it announced 100 new R&D open positions. Databricks: $6.2 billion CEO: Ali Ghodsi Headquarters: San Francisco Total funding: $897.36 million Valuation: $6.2 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $400 million of Series F venture funding in a deal led by Andreessen Horowitz in October. Databricks makes an analytics platform that simplifies evaluation of big data. The company's cloud and machine learning platform unifies data science, engineering and business, enabling data science teams to work faster and more securely. Databricks, which rolled out a new strategy last month, has a stockpile of more than $500 million to ride through the recession to an IPO thanks to disaster preparedness by its cautious CEO. Samsara: $5.4 billion CEO: Sanjit Biswas Headquarters: San Francisco Total funding: $930 million Valuation: $5.4 billion Last funding round: The company raised $700 million of Series F venture funding from Dragoneer Investment Group, Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic in May. Samsara makes Internet of Things sensors and cameras designed to increase efficiency, safety and sustainability. The company's suite of technology works in an integrated, real-time platform, enabling businesses to improve the safety and quality of business operations. Last year Samsara said it more than doubled its customer base to 10,000, and expanded into 10 new countries, while growing revenue at over 200% annually. Tempus Labs: $5 billion CEO: Eric Lefkofsky Headquarters: Chicago Total funding: $620 million Valuation: $5 billion Last funding round: The company closed on $100 million of Series G venture funding from Novo Holdings, New Enterprise Associates and Baillie Gifford in March. Tempus Labs makes a healthcare data-analytics platform that helps physicians to deliver personalized care for patients through an interactive analytical and machine learning platform. Since launching in 2015, the oncology-focused startup has stocked up a bank of clinical data and architected a system that uses machine learning, genomic sequencing, and other AI tech to enhance clinician understanding of patients' cancer and tailor effective treatments. Indigo Ag: $3.45 billion CEO: David Perry Headquarters: Boston Total funding: $1.12 billion Valuation: $3.45 billion Last funding round: The company raised $500 million of Series F venture funding through a combination of debt and equity in June. Indigo Ag provides agricultural services to predict which microbes are most beneficial to the health of crops and supply seed coatings that enable farmers to reduce risk and increase profitability. The fast-growing firm has picked up speed during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing some analysts to predict acquisition or an initial public offering in the near future. C3.ai: $3.3 billion CEO: Tom Siebel Headquarters: Redwood City, California Total funding: $355.74 million Valuation: $3.3 billion Last funding round: The company raised an estimated $50 million of Series H venture funding from BlackRock in September. C3.ai's cloud software uses machine learning to expedite the integration and analysis of enterprise data to provide companies with predictive maintenance, fraud detection, and energy management to improve operations. CEO Tom Siebel recently said his hot AI startup did $160 million in revenue last year, but that it won't go public until the economy is fully recovered. Aurora: $3.07 billion CEO: Chris Urmson Headquarters: Palo Alto, California Total funding: $765.6 million Valuation: $3.07 billion Last funding round: The company raised $69.51 million of Series B1 venture funding from Hyundai, Kia Motors and Millennium Technology Value Partners in September of 2019. Aurora makes an autonomous car technology that uses advanced machine learning software and hardware to power self-driving cars. Founded in 2017 by veterans of Google, Tesla, and Uber's self-driving car projects, the startup plans to act as a supplier to automotive, tech, or logistics companies. Pony.ai: $3 billion CEO: James Peng Headquarters: Fremont, California Total funding: $726 million Valuation: $3 billion Last funding round: The company raised $462 million of Series B venture funding in a deal led by Toyota Motor in February. Pony makes an autonomous driving technology intended for the manufacturing of automated vehicles. The company's platform takes advantage of artificial intelligence and algorithms to accurately perceive the vehicle's surroundings in order to predict the surrounding drivers' actions and maneuver accordingly. Convoy: $2.75 billion CEO: Dan Lewis Headquarters: Seattle Total funding: $668 million Valuation: $2.75 billion Last funding round: The company raised $400 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by Generation Investment Management and T. Rowe Price in November. Convoy makes an efficient digital freight network that connects shippers and carriers. The company's technology and data help solve the problem of waste and inefficiency in the trucking industry by matching trucking companies with shippers that need to move freight. The Jeff Bezos-backed trucking startup also raised money from Al Gore's fund in an effort to dominate the digital-freight market. Nuro: $2.7 billion CEO: Jiajun Zhu Headquarters: Mountain View, California Total funding: $1.03 billion Valuation: $2.7 billion Last funding round: The company raised $940 million of Series B venture funding from SoftBank Investment Advisers in February of 2019. Nuro makes a suite of robotics that include autonomous vehicle programs that help to transport goods quickly, safely and affordably. The delivery startup was the first self-driving vehicle company to get permission from the US government to ditch side mirrors and windshields on its delivery vehicles – which experts say could be a precedent for streamlining designs due to greater trust in vehicle safety. SambaNova Systems: $2.5 billion CEO: Rodrigo Liang Headquarters: Palo Alto, California Total funding: $460.6 million Valuation: $2.5 billion Last funding round: The company raised $250 million in a Series C round of venture funding in a deal led by BlackRock in February. SambaNova Systems makes an advanced systems platform and hardware designed to power machine learning and data analytics, enabling manufacturers with AI-powered hardware to create faster and more efficient algorithms. The tech is based on the research of its two former Stanford professor cofounders. The third cofounder, Christopher Ré, was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant for his work in data analysis. Grammarly: $2.3 billion CEO: Brad Hoover Headquarters: San Francisco Total funding: $200 million Valuation: $2.3 billion Last funding round: The company raised $92 million of Series 2 venture funding in a deal led by General Catalyst in October. Grammarly goes beyond just an automated grammar-checker, dictionary, and thesaurus. It uses the linguistic branch of AI called natural language processing to help people write more clearly and effectively by aiding with word choice and tone. In 2018, Grammarly expanded its use to Google Docs, and can be downloaded in beta form. Uptake: $2.3 billion CEO: Bradley Keywell Headquarters: Chicago Total funding: $293 million Valuation: $2.2 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $117 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by Baillie Gifford in November 2017. Uptake makes a predictive analytics platform that collects and interprets sensor data, enabling businesses to improve uptime, streamline operations and spot growth opportunities. The company says it boasts 1.3 million industrial machines monitored, 2.4 billion hours of machine learning, and failure data from more than 800 different systems. Quanergy: $2.27 billion CEO: Kevin J. Kennedy Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California Total funding: $325 million Valuation: $2.27 billion Last funding round: The company raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding in a deal led by Rising Tide Fund on April 1, 2020. Reshape Holdings and other undisclosed investors also participated in the round. Quanergy makes sensors for self-driving cars. The company's sensors help high-definition mapping data and object detection, tracking and classification. The firm's light detection and ranging technology senses and sizes the location of objects to monitor and detect real-time movement within an indoor space. Checkr: $2.2 billion CEO: Daniel Yanisse Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California Total funding: $309.74M Valuation: $2.2 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $160.63 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by T. Rowe Price in September. Checkr makes an enterprise platform enabling businesses to hire at scale, improve compliance and streamline operations. The background check software startup has a program that helps delivery services and other essential companies hire new employees on the same day they apply. Zoox: $1.2 billion CEO: Aicha Evans Headquarters: Alpharetta, Georgia Total funding: Not disclosed Valuation: Amazon will pay a reported $1.2 billion to acquire Zoox; PitchBook reports its last private valuation in 2018 at $3.2 billion after a Series C round. Last funding round: The company raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding in June of 2018. Zoox makes an autonomous mobility ecosystem that includes self-driving vehicles, control systems, AI and a ride-sharing service to improve urban mobility. This summer Amazon announced that it plans to buy Zoox for $1.2 billion — a fraction of its previous private valuation — in a move which industry experts told Business Insider is a sign of how competitive this sector is becoming, and how there could be more consolidation to come.
German flying taxi startup Lilium has raised $35 million of investment from Baillie Gifford. The British...German flying taxi startup Lilium has raised $35 million of investment from Baillie Gifford. The British asset management firm is known for backing big names in tech – including Amazon, Airbnb, Spotify, Tesla, and SpaceX. Morgan Stanley has estimated the flying vehicle market could be worth close to $3 trillion globally by 2030. Lilium CFO Christopher Delbrück said the investment represented a "vote of confidence" in the company's mission. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Lilium, the flying taxi startup based in Munich, has raised $35 million from investment firm Baillie Gifford, which previously backed Amazon, SpaceX, and Spotify. The firm is designing and manufacturing electric flying taxis, which it hopes to roll out across regions and nations in partnership with local authorities within the next decade. While many consign flying cars to the world of science fiction, Morgan Stanley has estimated the market could one day be worth close to $3 trillion globally. The new funding tops up the $240 million the firm revealed it had raised in March, bringing the Lilium's total funding to $375 million to date. Speaking to Business Insider, Lilium CFO Christopher Delbrück said: "Baillie Gifford is one of the world's most influential tech investors and their commitment represents a significant vote of confidence in both our physical product and our business case. "We look forward to working closely with Baillie Gifford as we seek to bring emissions-free, regional air mobility to the market as early as 2025. "The funds raised during this round give us the security to weather the challenging economic landscape we see around us and we're grateful to be able to stay fully focused on our mission." $70 flying taxi rides by 2025? Lilium has prototyped the Lilium Jet, a five-seater electric aircraft that takes off and lands vertically. The company has previously demonstrated that its electric jet can take off vertically and then move into "level flight" — flying forward — and hit speeds of up to 100 kph (62 mph). The eventual goal is to hit speeds of 300 kph (190 mph) and launch flights, piloted by humans, that cost passengers as little as $70 each. The firm must still obtain European certification for its vehicle and prove it can safely ferry humans around before it can roll out a commercial offering. Michael Pye, Investment Manager at Baillie Gifford, added: "We are delighted to support the remarkable team at Lilium in their ambition of developing a new mode of transport. "While still at an early stage, we believe this technology could have profound and far-reaching benefits in a low-carbon future and we are excited to watch Lilium's progress in the years ahead."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths