When we think about identity in the digital world, it usually involves a username and password, but Merit (originally called Sigma) wants to help governments issue digital credentials that link back to a government license database with the goal of bringing an end to flimsy paper cards.
Today the company announced a hefty $50 million Series B. Rose Park Advisors led the round with participation from prior investors a16z, Bow Capital and Govtech Fund, along with new investors Experian Ventures, Spike Ventures, InState Capital, Collier Fund, Metaplanet Holdings and other individual investors. Merit has now raised $80 million, according to the company.
Company co-founder and CEO Tomer Kagan said that idea is to create a verifiable online digital identity. A driver’s license is proof that the state gives you the right to drive, but one that is delivered in the analog form of a plastic card. Merit wants to change that by moving these credentials into the digital realm and linking them to a government database.
“You need to be empowered to share information about yourself with a third party that is programmatically verifiable, meaning it is just known to be true because I am passing along something that was given to me by an organization that you can verify came from that organization. So what we did is we built a platform over the last five years that actually handles this by allowing organizations to connect to other databases,” Kagan explained.
The company spent the last five years working with various governments to build connectors to these licensing databases to allow third parties to access the data and have it update automatically. So if you are a plumbing company, you can display your employees’ plumbing credentials on the company website and have them update automatically when the license is renewed (or show that it wasn’t).