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Mobile authentication platform tru.ID raises £3M investment to help developers replace passwords

tru.ID founder Paul McGuire

The lockdowns definitely pushed users worldwide to spend more time on their screens. However, even before the pandemic, and maybe even while it is still going on, we all are quite likely to spend a notable chunk of our time on our phones. The whole mobile experience is completed by apps, which offer quick and easy access to resources, but the method used to log into such apps has fundamentally been the same for quite some time. 

The legacy options to log in such as login and password or OTP authentication are more of a hindrance currently. Additionally, they are also weak points that attackers could potentially exploit. The mobile authentication platform startup tru.ID addresses these issues and helps developers replace passwords with a more secure solution. It has now secured a £3 million investment. 

In a conversation with UKTN, tru.ID CEO and founder Paul McGuire delves deeper into what the startup is all about, what its future plans entail and more. 

Expanding to Germany, Spain and more regions 

The latest £3 million funding for tru.ID was led by investors Episode 1, MMC Ventures and NHN Ventures. With the fresh funds, the company aims to expand its reach further. It is currently operating in five markets, UK, Canada, USA, India, and Indonesia. The funding will help it expand into other markets in Europe, Asia and America. In 2021, the startup plans to be available in over 30 markets by the end of 2021. Germany, Spain, France, Netherlands, and Switzerland are next on the company’s list.

tru.ID currently has 20 people in its team and is on the lookout to hire new talent. You can check out open positions for the company here. 

Delivering a highly secure user authentication solution

The USP of tru.ID is delivering a frictionless, highly secure, user authentication solution. Currently, most of the world uses legacy methods for user authentication over the web, which entails entering a user ID and password or waiting for an SMS PIN. These methods can not only be frustrating but are also said to be vulnerable to hackers and criminals.

tru.ID has built its solution from the ground up so that it works flawlessly on mobile and is easy to use. The company works in an area that is a combination of digital identity solutions and passwordless authentication, two large and fast-growing markets. Quoting Next Move Strategy, the company notes that the Global Passwordless Authentication market size is predicted to reach £328.37 billion by 2030, while the Global Digital Identity Solutions market size could be around £21.93 billion by 2024. 

Standing out from the competition

The mobile identity startup space has some rivals for tru.ID with Boku and Prove being the largest ones. “These companies tend to focus on the provision of user KYC and risk scoring capabilities based on mobile network operator data elements. They also have a “traditional” (lengthy) Enterprise sales approach,” says McGuire. 

In contrast with its competitors, tru.ID offers a digital authentication solution based on the SIM card. McGuire adds, “Our company has been built from the ground-up for speed and agility – we provide a developer-focused API platform where you can sign up online, start testing in minutes and build, deploy and scale, quickly and easily.”

Challenges in digital identity

There are multiple challenges associated with any business and tru.ID is no exception. The most prominent challenge for the company is universal availability. As it is a mobile authentication platform, the primary challenge it faces is reaching sufficient critical mass of users so that businesses opt to work with it. Additionally, asking users to learn or adopt a new technology may not work out either. Since the company uses the secure SIM card as the basis for digital user identity, it effectively kills two birds with one stone. 

Another challenge is raising awareness and implementing the technology. “COVID has helped accelerate the move to a mobile-first world and has increased awareness at a senior level of the need for digital user identities – an example is the discussions around the ‘Vaccination Passport’,” comments McGuire. 

As for implementation, McGuire says, “Our solution is to make it easy for developers to implement our technology by creating a developer-first, online platform. Our APIs are turnkey, so you can create a functional prototype in a matter of minutes, then build, deploy and scale quickly and easily.”

McGuire adds that COVID has also hastened the need for digital identity and authentication solutions, particularly on mobile, as remote working became the new norm. The tru.ID team wasn’t really affected by the pandemic since it was setup as a remote-first company even before the pandemic hit.

The future of digital identity

Since tru.ID is at the forefront of mobile digital authentication, we enquired what the sector’s future might entail. As per McGuire, the future will be mobile-first. He says, “The mobile phone is, and will remain, the primary computing device for the majority of the world. As a result, digital identity solutions will need to be based around the mobile device.”

In addition, the future is expected to most certainly be passwordless. McGuire believes, “The combination of the acceleration to online and the universal availability of secure, SIM-based authentication will finally enable the transition to a passwordless and safer online world.” 

Biometrics are also expected to play a larger role in the future of mobile authentication. “For additional security in high-risk situations, a second factor is needed. Biometrics will provide that additional factor. It could be a fingerprint, or voice print or, more likely, a face scan.  The combination of SIM-based device authentication and face scan will become the new gold standard for online identity and user authentication,” notes McGuire.