Persona: Identity Verification Pioneer

The world of online identity verification has experienced an exponential surge in demand in recent years. Among the pioneers spearheading this digital revolution is a company named Persona. Today, we delve into the beginnings of this innovative firm, its evolution, and the direction it is headed in.

Chapter 1: The Origins

Originally, the solutions in the online identity verification realm catered primarily to specific use cases such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML), designed to meet the needs of particular industries.

However, the digital landscape rapidly evolved, and the number and nature of businesses seeking online verification services expanded beyond this initial group. The demand became more diversified and intricate, no longer confined to just regulated industries. The challenge of truly understanding customers increased as more individuals from various backgrounds transitioned online, and digital transactions became the norm.

Chapter 2: The Problem with Specialised Solutions

With the influx of online users and the corresponding increase in use cases, specialised identity verification providers became inefficient. The industry attempted to address this by offering all-in-one platforms that claimed to fit any and every use case.

However, the reality was far from the claim. These one-size-fits-all platforms were akin to socks that fit multiple shoe sizes – they managed the basic task reasonably well, but only truly catered to a small subset of users.

Chapter 3: The Need for Customisation

Businesses soon realised they needed to tailor verification for each use case and unique customer to both evaluate risk and provide the best user experience. The verification process for a celebrity would be more rigorous than for an average user, and the verification for someone ordering alcohol online would differ from someone applying to be a delivery person for the same service.

Thus, the need for customisation in identity verification emerged. Businesses wanted full control over the specific verification experience they offered for each use case and each customer.

Chapter 4: The Birth of Persona

Recognising this need, Rick Song and Charles Yeh decided to create a solution that would cater to both current and emerging use cases, while also keeping up with changing regulations. Their goal was to provide businesses with the ability to customise not just the aesthetics (fonts and copy) of the verification process, but also the logic behind it. In 2018, they formed Persona.

Chapter 5: The Pillars of Persona

The founders wanted to make their services accessible to everyone, regardless of their technical or financial resources. Persona offered multiple integration methods, including no-code and low-code options, and became the first in the industry to offer a permanently free plan that included up to 500 government ID and selfie verifications a month.

Chapter 6: The Challenges Ahead

Despite the simplicity of its concept, building a customisable identity verification system presented a massive challenge. It required figuring out what the fundamental components were and ensuring they all interacted seamlessly with each other.

Chapter 7: The Vision

Persona's ultimate goal is to become the identity layer of the internet. For businesses, Persona aspires to do what Amazon Web Services (AWS) did for web infrastructure – provide the necessary identity infrastructure so businesses can focus on other aspects of their operations.

Chapter 8: A Safer Internet

On the user side, Persona aims to make the internet safer and less intimidating. In the era of data breaches and identity theft, they aim to provide a seamless, secure, and personalised identity verification experience to make users feel comfortable sharing their personal information online.

Chapter 9: Series B Funding

In 2018, Persona launched and since then has supported a myriad of businesses across various sectors. To further its mission, the company raised a $50 million Series B round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investor Coatue.

Chapter 10: The Future

Persona's journey has just begun. They have made significant strides in a short period, but there is still much to do. With their passion for making the internet more human, one verification at a time, Persona is set to continue revolutionising the industry.


The digital world continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and the need for secure, customisable identity verification is more crucial than ever. As Persona continues to innovate and grow, it is clear that they are a vital player in this essential aspect of our increasingly digital lives.

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