This is Michael Salmony. I am part of the expert council of APC and I have the great pleasure of welcoming Robert Prigge, who I’ve known for a while, who has many roles. He is CEO of Jumio, which is one of the companies that are trying to improve identity a great deal going away from passwords to biometrics, KYC, AML, fraud and lots of other things, and he also has many other dimensions. He used to come from Frankfurt and now he speaks fluent Japanese, so he’s a very interesting person. So, Robert maybe you could just quickly introduce yourself and your company
Yeah, I have to admit, I did not learn Japanese in Frankfurt. I learned Japanese in Japan, but thanks for including me Michael. Robert Prigge here. I’m the CEO of Jumio. I’ve been with the company five years and have really enjoyed seeing how identity has evolved and had a revolution almost in the last couple years, it’s a super exciting area.
Wonderful, and that’s the topic we thought we would have a quick Hard Talk about, where we try to pick up some controversial topic. Today it’s about identity. We thought maybe a nice controversial discussion we could have with you is that there are basically two ways of approaching identity.
Yeah, it’s not so much a preference, but I think the reality is instead of chucking everything like you said and starting from scratch, that’s probably not horribly realistic. I think when you look at especially from a global point of view, much less at the country level, regions in the country have different opinions and philosophies on that topic, which make it quite challenging. And so, I think the reality is more how do you take the different point solutions of which we’re a leader, but how do you combine those, stitch them together into a more complete solution – and there are definitely big challenges with that too. First off, not all solutions are created equal, and so you’ll take someone like us who’s really known for quality, but then there’s a lot of other vendors, who’ll do something very shoddy and very quick and they’re not really the same thing, even though they think they are, they’re not. And the same is true of multiple different areas of identity. I think increasingly we’re looking at a 360-degree view of a consumer. And in our part, that’s the identity of the IDV, there’s address services where you’re seeing if the address exists or they live there, there’s databases like PEPs and sanctions or screening databases. And so, I think ultimately, it’s weaving all of those together. I think inevitably in the marketplace, there’s going to be more consolidation because like you mentioned, creating a Frankenstein’s monster of 80 different vendors you know is not super exciting and that’s why more and more people are moving new holistic total solutions like us, but you know that’s the reality. And also…
Sorry to just interrupt you there, because you seem to be leaning a little bit towards the interoperability model, sort of saying you need to get them to connect. I’m just wondering how practical that is? In Germany, for example we have 53 different identity solutions, all running in parallel. If we’re going to interconnect that, and that’s only Germany right, let alone the world which probably has thousands. So, how is that going to be?
Yeah, I’m not too sure, I’m advocating interoperability, I think I’m advocating there’s going to be consolidation and that of those 53, 23 are going to go away and 10 of them will combine in one bigger one.
What makes you optimistic about that? Why do you think they will go away? Because my observation has been, we’re getting more identity solutions: every bank, every telco, every service provider, every internet provider is coming with their own identity solution. What makes you optimistic, we’re going to have less?
I think, it’s a phase frankly. Yes, you’re right, every day a new person writes one line of code and does a startup that says they’re an identity company. I think, in the world of Vovid, that stuff becomes extraordinarily daunting. You need to actually have real sales and have real business and have real results. And so, I think that the difficulties of Covid in 2020 and 2021 will flush out a lot of those companies that are frankly not profitable and are just not good businesses and are little more than fancy PowerPoint presentations without too many customers. So, I think it gets worse before it gets better, that there’s a proliferation mostly because it’s validating that digital transformation and digital identity needs are a real thing. There’s real pain there, and especially because of Covid in other areas, digital transformation is so important and the first problem that people run into is establishing who they’re dealing with. And so yeah, I think it probably proliferates more and then gets consolidated when you flush out the small ones.
I’m sure we can agree that as we move to an increasingly digital age,
identifying who it is
and what rights they have
and even what machine it may be
and what that’s trying to access
is an increasingly important point. And I like your idea of the survival of the fittest. So, let those who don’t work terribly well, who don’t have a viable business model, who aren’t usable, let them disappear and that may already get us somewhere. Okay Robert, thank you so much for this short hard talk. Anybody who’s interested in more on this, we will be having more webinars, also with Robert, on this topic and I hope we will see each other again there. Thank you very much.
Pleasure Michael, thank you.