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Extended-form Case Study

Onfido: a case study of a values-focused start-up

Published on July 31, 2017   29 min

Other Talks in the Series: Hot Topics

Hello. My name is Husayn Kassai. I am the CEO and one of the co-founders at Onfido, which we set up back in 2012.
I'll just start by giving you a quick introduction. We at Onfido are in the business of building trust. So we help businesses, such as online banks and sharing economy companies, Verify that their users are who they claim to be online by checking identity documents, carrying out facial recognition checks, and running database searches. And our mission is to build a trust engine to power interactions worldwide in the digital age. So we work with verifying workers in the on-demand sector for traditional corporates, all the way to users of FinTech platforms, payments, sharing economy and eventually, facilitating online voting and a range of other services.
The first lesson that I learnt was back when I started my first venture when I turned 12, and it was an online, sort of eBay account, selling foreign music. And I had a happy four or five months doing so until a competitor came along and undercut my price - I charged around £5 and they charged sort of £4.50 or whatever it was at the time, and it both surprised me and then later became quite normal as I cut my price and so did this other person. And we got to a point where it was about £2.50, at which point I quickly could do the calculation and recognise that on the minimum wage, I'd earn just the same if not more. So it is a pretty fundamental lesson in economics, but well worth pointing this out, in that if we assume that there are, sort of, say, six ducks or so and let's assume that there are three patches of food, one provides one food item per minute, and another two, another three. Then the assumption may be that patch C with three food items per minute may well be the most attractive. But what ends up happening is that patch three attracts three ducks and the other patch two, with two food items, attracts two and so on. So the first lesson that I learnt, and the first mistake that I made, was recognising essentially that it's not just important for a venture, a profit-making venture, to be profitable, but even more so is for that profit to be sustainable;. And so that despite competitors, you have a unique value proposition that is protected.

Onfido: a case study of a values-focused start-up

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