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Identity management used to mean making sure you had your driver’s license when you left home, but it’s not that simple these days: identity is at the heart of how we interact with the digital world, and identity services can take many forms (and abuses) . Now it gets even more interesting: the big advances we are seeing in areas like AI raise big questions and challenges about how we can prove we are who we say we are, and how bad actors can exploit vulnerable situations.

On today’s episode of MinRegion Live – May 10 at noon Pacific Time – we talk about this and more with Rick Song, the CEO and co-founder of Persona, one of the great unicorn startups that has benefited from that evolution; and Index Ventures’ Mark Goldberg, a star investor who has bet on Persona early on and has ideas on how the verification game is developing, from a market and investment perspective.

If you work in a related startup, or are interested in the space, or just wondering what it’s like to raise money as a B2B startup right now, join us! Participating is free.

As Song sees it, most digital companies aren’t, and don’t want to be, experts when it comes to ID management. There are too many moving parts to be a core competency even in the largest technology companies in the world; and sending the verification process to a third party dedicated to the job is a preferred route anyway.

“Most say, ‘Get this out of my hands,'” Song says of the verification task. “They need it and would rather someone else handle it.”

That opens the door for companies like Persona to take on and handle that work. Starting with an API to verify identity, it has recently expanded to a broader platform that covers not only this, but also a variety of other authentication and identity management solutions, such as tools that allow customers to process sensitive data as part of their broader service flow, to perform fraud detection or risk assessments, and more.

That larger trajectory — and the big clients Persona has signed, including some of the very biggest names in retail and other consumer services — helped catapult the company to a $1.5 billion valuation in its latest round of funding.

That was in 2021, before technology funding took a nosedive. But there’s an argument that companies like Persona are proving more resilient than others: identity and malicious activity around identity remain major themes in technology, and there’s still a lot to play in this market.

MinRegion Live is free. Join us virtually today at 12:00 PM and add your questions directly in the chat! Register here. Do you have a startup? We’d like you to take part in Pitch Practice, where you have two minutes to pitch the show’s guests and receive four minutes of feedback. It’s fun and useful.

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