Interested in tech, Zheng Wei left his career as a chartered accountant to teach himself how to code. But it was his experience as an accountant that led to his interest in the blockchain and how it can be used to verify documents. “What intrigued me was the capability of the technology to allow for real-time authentication,” Wei told TechCrunch. “That was mind-blowing because fundamentally, accountants are there to match certain transactions and make sure everything tallies up against one another. When I realized that technology can completely displace that activity, it intrigued me.”
Founded by Wei in 2019 to securely verify documents, Singapore-based Accredify announced today that it has raised $7 million in Series A funding co-led by iGlobe Partners and SIG Venture Capital with participation from returning investors Pavilion Capital and Qualqro. So far, it has processed 12 million verifications on 2 million issued documents and served 600 users.
Accredify began by working with educational organizations to prevent the use of fake degrees and certificates. Then it began expanding into other use cases, including corporate registries and healthcare.
For example, during the height of the pandemic, Accredify worked with the Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry of Health to create a system that verified COVID-19 records so workers could travel. It has also collaborated with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory to transform their data infrastructure. This means that now every time a company is created, it received a verifiable business profile that can be traced back to the blockchain.
“I think being able to create this kind of commercial traction and adoption is something that we have done really well,” said Wei.
Accredify onboards clients by first creating an identity for them on the blockchain (it primarily uses Ethereum). It creates a wallet, or document store, which is a smart wallet on the Ethereum network. It manages the private and public key for the client. Then it draws data through dashboards or API integrations.
Other companies in the same space include Unifier, which Accredify partnered with during the pandemic—Accredify created documents while Unifier read documents for their clients. U.S. startups like Trinsic work with verifiable identity credentials, like New Zealand companies like MATTR are working with the country’s government to create digital identity and verifiable data.
Wei said the key difference between Accredify and other players “is that most of the use cases you see in the market stop at the pilot, proof of concept situation. When it comes to true commercial adoption, as well as scalability, I don’t think a lot of companies have achieved what we’ve done, including creating an entire system that has enabled the COVID-19 management within Singapore to be so seamless.”
Accredify has office in Singapore and Australia, and it plans to double down on its presence in the latter country by hiring more people. Wei says it is also exploring expansion into Japan by doing pilot programs with government entities.