A Chartered Accountant’s Technological Vision for Accessibility, Inclusivity, and Security!
Technology is always changing and captivating the minds of those who are creatively inclined. Every day, new advancements and innovations are reshaping the way we live, work, and interact with the world. From the latest gadgets to groundbreaking software and cutting-edge research, technology never ceases to amaze us. Amidst the charismatic prospect of technology and innovation, where advancements occur swiftly, there emerge remarkable individuals distinguished by their passion, vision, and determination.
Gur Geva, the Founder, and CEO of iiDENTIFii, is undeniably one of these remarkable individuals. Armed with a Chartered Accountant’s background and an unrelenting commitment to leveraging AI and intelligent technologies for societal betterment, Gur Geva is on a mission to redefine digital identity in Africa.
His journey began in the field of finance, where he honed his skills as a Chartered Accountant. Yet, his fascination with technology and its potential to reshape the world was an ever-present driving force. “I consider myself a technologist,” Gur Geva says with a twinkle in his eye. “I’ve always believed that technology can be harnessed to solve complex problems and drive meaningful change.”
This belief led him to establish iiDENTIFii, a cutting-edge technology company that specializes in digital identity solutions. Gur Geva’s vision was clear from the start: to make digital identity more accessible, inclusive, and secure across the African continent.
His journey from Chartered Accountant to digital identity trailblazer is nothing short of remarkable. His career has always been marked by a deep interest in leading innovations within the financial sector. However, Gur doesn’t merely view himself as a financial expert; he considers himself a technologist with a mission to harness the power of cutting-edge technologies like AI for the betterment of society.
At the heart of Gur Geva’s mission lies the recognition that effective and secure digital identity is the cornerstone of the future financial services sector. It’s not just about innovation; it’s about making digital identity accessible, inclusive, and, above all, safer for individuals across the African continent.
iiDENTIFii has become a beacon of progress in the world of digital identity. With an exceptional team and strategic technology partnerships, Gur embarked on a mission to redefine the way individuals establish and verify their digital identities.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Could you please brief us on iiDENTIFii and tell us about its inception?
iiDENTIFii is an enterprise-grade, African-centred digital identification program that uses biometric facial liveness to determine whether a person conducting a digital transaction is who they say they are. We use face biometrics, which has been proven to be the safest and most effective way to determine a person’s identity, and we use passive liveness to ensure that it is indeed them performing a transaction and not a fraudster using their likeness. At the heart of this solution is a deep desire to combat money laundering and financial crime on the continent. This desire stems from a personal experience I had several years ago.
When my daughter was learning to walk, I took her to the park around the corner from our apartment each day. It was a memorable time for me as a parent, surrounded by nature and watching her grow.
A few months later, a family friend’s nanny was approached at the same park and offered a large sum of money in exchange for walking away from the pram where my friend’s child slept. The incident shook me to my core. We were in that park every day, only a few months before. That could have easily been my child in that situation. This personal experience made me all the more attuned to the pervasive threat of human trafficking in our society. I became determined to find a way to use my strengths to stop trafficking in its tracks.
I realized that the silent driver and enabler of human trafficking is money. In order for criminals to successfully transact, sums of money need to be exchanged and laundered without raising the suspicion of the authorities. I saw a gap in the African market for a platform that could guarantee that the person making or receiving a transaction is live, real, and who they say they are. Human trafficking, as abhorrent as it is, exists because it is lucrative. However, the funds obtained from these illegal activities need to be washed. In doing so, criminals need to steal the identities of others. By making it as difficult as possible to steal a person’s identity, we can help combat human trafficking and more.
How would you describe your leadership style, and how has it contributed to the growth and success of iiDENTIFii?
As a leader, I am inspired by my vision of a future where everyone is able to access and use a safe and functional digital identity. I have surrounded myself with a team that shares my passion for this vision and believes in its relevance. We started out small, with our founders taking care of every aspect of the business, so we celebrate the specific expertise of all our employees and value the contributions they make to the business.
I feel that iiDENTIFii has continued to grow and be successful owing to the foundation of a clear leadership vision and continued motivation for every member of our team.
The fields of digital identity, biometric verification, AI, and machine learning are rapidly evolving. How does iiDENTIFii stay ahead of the curve and continue to be an industry and thought leader in these areas?
We are grateful to draw on the global, market-leading insight of our technology partner, iProov, in our understanding of high-level international trends. We also bring our own deep African technology services expertise, complemented by the on-the-ground insight of our local African partners.
Could you provide some examples of how iiDENTIFii has enabled the digital identity journey of Tier 1 Banks in Africa? What sets your solutions apart from competitors in the market?
In the context of the country’s recent greylisting, iiDENTIFii has to date partnered with three leading South African banks to fortify their digital identification and onboarding processes. This is part of a wider banking strategy to protect companies and consumers against money laundering and fraud.
Our 4D Liveness solution stands apart with its resilience to deep fake and replay attacks. It comprises different color lights that reflect in a certain sequence of the user’s face, which helps determine true biometric liveness. This is not only the most secure approach but also the most scalable. As a result, iiDENTIFii has been the solution of choice for South Africa’s leading banks.
As a CEO, what are some of the challenges you have faced in your role, and how have you overcome them?
As with many high-growth startups, one of my core challenges has been to scale and empower my team fast and efficiently to meet exponential demand. Thankfully, we built the business on a strong technological foundation that was fully equipped to scale at pace. I have focused my energies on assembling a capable and powerful team that can grow and run the business effectively, while I turn my focus to iiDENTIFii’s future.
How does iiDENTIFii prioritize innovation and research in order to continuously improve its technology and stay competitive in the market?
Innovation is not separate from business; it is an innate part of our DNA. Practically, this means that our product team is continually learning from technological updates in the market, brainstorming approaches to emerging security threats, and listening carefully to our customers to understand their needs on the ground.
Can you share any upcoming projects or initiatives that iiDENTIFii is working on that you are particularly excited about?
I am excited to be working with leading financial institutions across the wider African continent to champion Africa-led identity solutions. This plays into our long-term focus on becoming the default enterprise-grade identity verification service provider on the continent.
In your opinion, what do you think is the biggest opportunity or potential impact of digital identity, biometric verification, AI, and machine learning in the future?
I believe the biggest opportunity lies in the potential for greater socio-economic inclusion. AI and machine learning are built to simplify complex processes. Not only will this benefit businesses weighed down by legacy processes and information, but it will have a powerful impact on consumers as well. Thanks to these emerging technologies, those who were previously unbanked or did not have access to essential services will be afforded greater inclusion because technology can meet them where they are.
What are some of the values and principles that drive iiDENTIFii as a company, and how do these translate into the work you do and the relationships you build with your clients?
We are driven by principles of the right to inclusion, integrity, innovation, and a continued commitment to our customers and their end users. This informs the open, productive working relationships we build for our clients, as well as the fully customized solutions we create for them.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or individuals looking to enter the field of digital identity and biometric verification?
I would advise entrepreneurs to focus on building a strong, scalable technology foundation that has the power to meet their vision.