I’m often asked where the idea for Jumio came from. Many entrepreneurs trace their spark of innovation to insights gleaned while engaged with a prior business and others from a personal experience that left them knowing that “there’s got to be a better way”.
In my case, it was both.
In 2005, I co-founded and was CEO of Jajah which was the first peer-to-peer internet telephony company using VoIP. We soon attracted a very large and loyal customer base and also enjoyed much success as the telephony and customer support backbone for many well known communications products such as Yahoo! Messenger, AOL’s ICQ, Microsoft Messenger and others. As is often the case with new, breakthrough technologies it didn’t take long for criminals to figure out that selling and trading VoIP services could serve as a way to monetize stolen credit card numbers. As a result, the early players in the space were plagued by huge chargebacks and other losses that soon reached double digits.
Fortunately, at Jajah we were on top of this trend and to protect our clients and ourselves we architected a range of data-driven preventative measures and verification protocols to effectively combat this fraud. This capability eventually proved to be as important an aspect of our partner off ering as the telephony service itself. This experience also made it clear to me that transaction and identification validation needed to graduate from being an afterthought to holding “front center” consideration if e-commerce was to continue to grow as expected.
A few years later I was on holiday in France and went online to a well-known travel site to purchase an air ticket for a friend. The transaction was refused because I had inadvertently tripped every fraud control known to man. Now it seems funny but at the time I was frustrated and fuming; forced to spend 4 hours on the phone (instead of on the beach!) with banks and credit card companies arguing and faxing documents in an effort to convince them that I was who I said I was and that my transaction was legitimate. From their perspective, however, I looked radioactively risky: my credit card is issued by an Austrian bank, yet the IP address of the transaction was in France. The name of the passenger in whose name the ticket was bought was different from the name on the credit card. I had recently changed residences and my billing address had been updated but no longer matched the out-of-date 3rd party records the bank used for cross reference. I don’t imagine that my impatience and belligerence helped my cause much, either. But can you blame me?
That was the moment when the lessons learned building Jajah and the insult and injury of being denied my identify, not to mention my beach time, collided and Jumio was born.
Since then, we’ve grown like a weed, brought on a hugely talented team to shape and execute our plan, secured funding from the most noted investors and are delivering value to businesses and consumers every day in many locations around the world. The ease of implementing our solutions belies the complexity behind them and that’s exactly the way it should be. I invite you to learn about our products and services and hope you give us a try.
By the way, I’m also often asked where the name Jumio came from. That story, I’ll save for another day.