With the rise of startups building on top of the collaborative consumption model – that is, where users are buying from and selling directly to other users – there’s a growing need for some sort of system to help verify user identities. Although there are others quietly working in this space, today the U.K.-based startup MiiCard, which is building an identity verification service, has moved a step ahead. The company has just completed its second seed funding round, raising $2.5 million from New Wave Ventures, IQ Capital and Par Equity. MiiCard had previously raised $750,000 back in September, also from IQ and Par Equity.
The company says it aims to use the additional funding to move into the U.S. market.
Currently, users register their identities with MiiCard’s service by providing access to a bank account – a requirement which still makes some nervous. Are banking details safe in the hands of an early-stage startup, you may ask? MiiCard says that it uses banking info to verify, but focuses on validating a user as a unique individual, verifying through a link to their online account. That proves they actually have access to that online account, and aren’t just providing banking account details which could be stolen.
To be clear, MiiCard doesn’t ask for your bank account number, and oddly enough, that’s something that seems to worry some folks, even though it’s info that many people and companies would know. (Hint: it’s on your checks…Besides, aren’t those the same people who are scared to shop online, but have no problem handing their credit card over to a starving college student working three shifts at their local diner to pay their bills?) Oh, and MiiCard’s service is also VeriSign Trusted and TRUSTe certified, if that makes you feel better about the security precautions in place. And it runs its tech on top of Yodlee, which powers solutions for seven of the top ten banks. (OK, that helps).
Once registered, you can begin attaching other accounts to your profile, like your social networking accounts, for example. You can then use your MiiCard where you see fit – on your eBay shop, perhaps, or your Craigslist posting.
To date, no banks have yet signed up in partnership with the system, but the company says it’s in negotiations with several entities. The system currently works in North America, the U.K., South Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
Last week, MiiCard launched the first third-party Twitter validation system, which allows anyone – not just celebs and public figures who get special attention from Twitter – to verify their account. After verification, the idea is that you could place the link to your MiiCard in Twitter’s profile section. Of course, the problem the startup now has to overcome are all the people going WTF is a MiiCard? Maybe the additional funding will help.
MiiCard was founded in September 2011 by Canadian entrepreneur James Varga, who previously worked with Centrica Business Services, Thomas Cook and Sky Sports.