Yoti stands for ‘Your own trusted identity’. It’s a way of proving who you are in a wide variety of situations, whether it’s buying age restricted goods, getting into a nightclub, dating someone online or picking someone’s child up from school.
To create your Yoti, you take a selfie and scan your ID document, such as a passport or driving licence, with your smartphone. Yoti verifies the selfie and photo ID match, checks the integrity of the photo ID and creates a secure digital identity that the individual controls. Yoti’s technology separates each piece of personal information (photo, first name, date of birth and so on), individually encrypts and stores each piece of data.
The user receives their verified digital identity and is the only person to hold the key that unlocks their data, should they ever need access to it again – perhaps to move it to another device.
Aware that 1.5 to 2.5bn people lack either a mobile phone or a formal ID document, the company is working on ways to widen access to the Yoti system, including partnering with CitizenCard to help give more people an affordable ID.
Yoti is free to consumers and non-profit organisations and it can be used at no cost as a simple and secure ID. Businesses are charged a small fee for checking the identity of their customers. The company has seen demand from a range of sectors including Government, retailers, nightclubs, police, dating sites, financial services and healthcare, to name a few.
The self-funded company launched at the end of 2017, following three years of R&D. At the time of launch it had 123,000 beta users. In the first seven months, the figure rose to 1.3 million. At that time the team was 230 strong, mainly UK-based but with an office in India and more to come in other countries.
Working with techUK
Director of Regulatory and Policy, Julie Dawson, says, “TechUK has been absolutely outstanding.” Yoti first got involved when it was just 30 people. It was impressed with its welcome, its openness and its accessibility to SMEs, something it wasn’t at all expecting.
One of the results of this is that Julie sits on the Justice and Emergency Services committee, Yoti’s Data Protection Officer serves on the Data Protection Committee and another colleague has helped set up the Digital Identity working group.
The flow is not just one way though. Through techUK, the team has met with people from the health sector, financial services and cyber security. The company has had good support from all levels of techUK throughout its development and launch.
The CEO and deputy CEO of techUK have regularly done things on Yoti’s behalf, asking questions, reporting on critical trends in Government and putting its case forward in the right places. They’ve invited Yoti to participate in various functions in Brussels and Yoti itself has sponsored and participated in other techUK events including the Public Sector conference and Supercharging the Digital Economy.
The value of techUK
Yoti is fortunate in being located near to techUK and being able to spare staff to get so involved. Many SMEs lack the proximity or the capacity. It saw the value of techUK early on – its welcome, its support and its spread across so many technical industries in particular. It believes that techUK is going from strength to strength – it has programme managers that really know their turf, they have strong relationships with Government departments and they know how each sector ticks and the politics behind it. This kind of thing is beyond the reach of most SMEs.
When it comes to events and seminars, techUK curates them really well. Speakers are normally worth listening to and techUK doesn’t stand for people being ‘fluffy’. They are only invited if they have a decent point of view.
Julie Dawson notes, “The clout techUK has is quite considerable, not just in the UK but in Brussels and through wider links to other countries.”