My guest in this episode of the podcast “Leadership is the Competitive Advantage” is Kaarel Kotkas, Veriff founder and CEO. Veriff is Kaarel’s 12th entrepreneurial project that has grown into a successful organization with global reach offering identity verification service to online businesses. Kaarel is dreaming big. Veriff is pursuing an ambitious goal of building the infrastructure for higher global trust online and single global identity whereby one day passports will be issued by Veriff instead of local governments. Besides being loved by US investors, the company has also been supported, among others, by our very own Taavet Hinrikus from Transferwise. Earlier this year Kaarel was awarded EY Entrepreneur of the Year title. Last year he was distinguished as one of the 25 most influential Northern-European young entrepreneurs. I enjoyed this chat a lot, loved to get know Kaarel more, and his crazy ambition to solve the seemingly unsolvable. Behind the apparent calm and serene energy you can really sense the intensity of the drive that Kaarel contains in himself. Go get the world, Kaarel & Co!
“I believe my teammates would describe me as visionary. I do not necessarily have the answers to specific questions that may arise in a day to day business, but I always know where we are heading towards and try to constantly think at least five steps ahead. At Veriff, our big ambitious goal is to create a single global identity. This means that at one point eventually we will onboard people around the world with their government issued identity on their hands, whether it is a passport of any other formal identification document, and become so-called home for their identity online so that they can verify themselves once and from there on start using Veriff as a single global identity for any transaction online requiring trustworthy personal identification. This might sound like a small undertaking at the beginning, but if you start to put some real numbers behind it then you will realize how big hairy audacious goal it actually is. If you are going after all those 2.8 billion people that are online today and knowing that there are lots and lots of more people joining the online community every single day, then the vision becomes pretty ambitious. There are 250 million businesses in the world and only 5% of them are operating online today, 95% of the transactions take place offline – this gives you a perspective of the grandiosity of this endeavor. We can see how the world is shifting towards online presence, hundreds of businesses will take their operations online sooner or later. And this sounds so big that it excites me but also at the same time makes me humble as we are at the beginning of our journey. But I can already see the successes. I think it all comes back to an impact. About six months ago, when the world basically stopped due to lockdowns and all the restrictions associated with the pandemic, then at one point we ended up having the responsibility to keep the world still spinning and enable services to be accessible from distance. This is a great feeling and you get a very tangible understanding of the impact that you are providing.” – Kaarel Kotkas
Listen and enjoy!