ID-Pal = Startup of the Week – Silicon Republic

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Our Start-up of the Week, ID-Pal, is a Dublin-based company that enables businesses to verify their customers’ identity.

“In a nutshell, ID-Pal enables businesses to seamlessly verify their customers’ identity,” explained ID-Pal CEO James O’Toole.

“Every frictionless customer journey begins with the very first step of customer onboarding. However, due to AML regulation, this process is more often than not a source of frustration for customers, resulting in massive losses for businesses – for example, an average of 40pc of customers abandon the account opening process due to inconvenience involved.”

‘Our ultimate goal is to be the industry standard for a simple, secure and convenient customer onboarding experience’


ID-Pal enables businesses to maximise their customer acquisition rates across all channels and jurisdictions. It is a digital identity verification solution that enables businesses to seamlessly onboard their customers in seconds.

ID-Pal is the only Irish company taking part in Salesforce’s EMEA Accelerate programme, a four-month virtual programme powered by Salesforce for Startups. It is designed to provide the insights, learning and support that start-ups need to strategically align with Salesforce and accelerate their time to market with AppExchange.

The start-up also recently won the Industry Breakthrough award from Payments Industry at PayExpo in London.

“Our multilayered verification approach, which uses a combination of document, database and biometric checks, ensures the most robust compliance process possible. ID-Pal provides businesses with a complete end-to-end solution that can be branded, configured and implemented in minutes with just a few clicks. We have taken the time, cost and complexity out of the digital transformation process, whilst delivering the benefits of a tailored user experience specific to the needs of each business.”

The market

Anti-money laundering (AML) regulation requires all regulated entities to verify their customers’ identity (referred to as know your customer or KYC) and address it prior to engaging in commercial activities.

“ID-Pal’s KYC solution is relevant to all financial service providers, brokers and advisers. Needless to say, the market is huge,” O’Toole explained.

“Our flexible technical architecture enables ID-Pal to service customers ranging from SME brokers, financial advisers and accountants to retail banks, insurance companies and payment firms. We are focused on the EMEA and US markets. We have formed strategic partnerships to help us accelerate our reach and penetration across these markets.

“In the US, we have an exclusive distribution partnership with Corporate One for the credit union market. We also have a distribution partnership with Temenos, which gives us a global audience across the 3,000 financial institutions they serve. Most recently, we have been selected by Salesforce to participate in their Accelerate programme. This will fast-track our time to the AppExchange and our collaboration with their financial services platform.

The founders

Co-founder and CEO O’Toole was previously a management consultant for Accenture, specialising in strategy development and operational excellence.

Co-founder and chief operating officer Colum Lyons was a stockbroker for Cantor Fitzgerald, and a high-frequency trader before that.

The company’s chief technology officer, Robert O’Farrell, had previously set up and ran a successful IT consultancy firm working with utility companies across Europe.

ID-Pal’s chief marketing officer, Shelley McKinney, had previously launched global campaigns for large corporations as well as building new brands for young companies.

The technology

ID-Pal is a software-as-a-solution (SaaS) solution for KYC. “Our ultimate goal is to be the industry standard for a simple, secure and convenient customer onboarding experience,” said O’Toole.

“We have just completed our current funding round. With this investment, we are scaling up our activities in the US and launching into the EMEA market outside of Ireland, beginning with the UK early in the new year.

“Our collaboration with Salesforce will be critical to our successful expansion, as they have a client base and sales capability that is quite simply unparalleled. By integrating ID-Pal into the Salesforce platform, customers will be able to implement an award-winning solution with the click of a button. This will collectively provide a compelling value proposition to the masses once we officially launch on the AppExchange, the world’s leading business app marketplace, in mid-January.”

No challenge is too great for this feisty fintech

O’Toole said that raising investment in Ireland is challenging when compared to the UK or US. “However, we have been very fortunate to receive backing from a consortium of experienced investors who know our market very well. As a general rule, everything costs twice as much and takes twice as long as originally planned!

“The UK, Germany and the Netherlands all have thriving start-up scenes. However, I’m glad to say Ireland is right up there with them. ID-Pal has been extremely fortunate with the support we have received since our very inception. Enterprise Ireland provided us with micro-seed capital to develop our concept. Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab helped us translate that concept into a beta product and engage key market players.

“Participation in that programme helped us establish relationships with Fexco and Bank of Ireland, who have been incredibly supportive, ranging from being early adopters to providing us with office space and everything in between. Whilst there is a lot of good will and support out there, structural disadvantages still remain when compared to some of the other start-up capitals around Europe. The most recent Budget did very little to redress this imbalance for entrepreneurs.”

His advice to fellow founders? “Back yourself. Keep it simple. Surround yourself with people who share your vision.”

This article, written by John Kennedy (Nov.2018) was originally published in Silicon Republic

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