December 3, 2023

Identity management used to mean making sure you had a driver’s license when you left home, but today it’s not that easy: identity fundamentally underpins how we interact with the digital world, and identity services can take many forms (and abuse). Now things get even more interesting: the huge advances we’re seeing in fields like AI raise huge questions and challenges around how to prove we are who we say we are, and how to catch bad actors who exploit vulnerable situations.

On today’s TechCrunch Live show — May 10 at 12 noon PT – We’ll discuss this with Rick Song, CEO and co-founder of Persona, one of the big unicorn startups capitalizing on this evolution; Mark Goldberg of Index Ventures, a star investor who was an early I bet on Persona, and thought about the evolution of the verification game from the perspective of the market and investment.

If you work in a related startup, are interested in this space, or just want to know what it’s like to raise money as a B2B startup right now, join us! Participation is free.

As Song sees it, most digital businesses are not experts when it comes to ID management, nor do they want to be. Even the largest technology company on the planet cannot become a core competitiveness. And usually sending the verification process to a third party that specializes in this job is the preferred route to take anyway.

“Most of them said, ‘Take this out of my hands,'” Song said of the verification task. “They need and prefer to be handled by someone else.”

This opens the door for businesses like Persona to take on and handle the work. Starting with an API for verifying identities, it has recently expanded to a broader platform covering not only this, but various other verification and identity management solutions, such as tools for customers to handle sensitive data as part of their more Extensive servicing processes, running fraud detection or risk assessments etc.

That larger trajectory — and the major clients Persona has already signed up, including some big names in retail and other consumer services — helped the company achieve a $1.5 billion valuation in its last funding round.

That was in 2021, before the fintech business took a nosedive. But there’s an argument that companies like Persona may well prove more resilient than others: Identity and malicious activity around identity are still major themes in tech, and there’s still a lot to play with in this market.

TechCrunch Live is free. Join us today at 12:00 noon virtually and add your questions directly in the chat! register here. Are there startups? We’d love to have you participate in a pitching exercise where you’ll have two minutes to pitch the show’s guests and four minutes for feedback. It’s fun and helpful.