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MITEK ACQUIRES ICAR, STRENGTHING ITS POSITION AS A GLOBAL LEADER IN DIGITAL IDENTITY VERIFICATION

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MITEK ACQUIRES ICAR, STRENGTHING ITS POSITION AS A GLOBAL LEADER IN DIGITAL IDENTITY VERIFICATION
  • Extends the scope of identity document coverage for North America, Europe, and Latin America.
  • Expands powerful AI and machine learning expertise in the digital identity verification industry.
  • Broadens product portfolio with several new factors of authentication.

Mitek (NASDAQ: MITK, www.miteksystems.com), a global leader in mobile capture and digital identity verification software solutions, today announced that it has acquired ICAR, a leading provider of consumer identity verification solutions in Spain and Latin America, for an aggregate purchase price of up to €12.75 million (~US$15.0 million) paid in a combination of cash and shares of Mitek common stock.

The acquisition of ICAR strengthens Mitek’s position as a global digital identity verification powerhouse in the Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions market, which the April 2017 Markets and Markets report, Consumer IAM Market – Global Forecast,  estimates will reach US$16.6  billion by 2022.

Headquartered in Barcelona with offices in Madrid, São Paulo, and Mexico City, ICAR was founded in 2002 as a spin-off of the Computer Vision Center of the UniversitatAutónoma de Barcelona. Today, ICAR is a digital consumer identification leader in Spain and Latin America.ICAR’s channel distribution partners include Accenture, Informática El Corte Inglés, and other top technology solutions providers. Its customers are premier banks includingCaixa Bank, Banco Neon, and Bancoppel, as well as companies in the telecom, insurance, travel, and energy sectors.

“The technical and cultural fit between ICAR and Mitek is a tremendous opportunity to maximize value for shareholders, while expanding our mission to bring the highest quality user experience and digital identity verification solutions to our customers globally,” said James B. DeBello, Chief Executive Officer of Mitek and Chairman of the Mitek Board of Directors.

Xavier Codó, Chief Executive Officer of ICAR added, “This combination provides a major growth opportunity and allows us to extend cloud services to our partners and customers in Spain and Latin America. It gives us the ability to offer our customers comprehensive identity document coverage throughout the U.S. and Europe. Mitek’s financial stability and commitment to research and development will also enable us to develop the industry’s most comprehensive, versatile, and advanced digital identity verification platform.”

“We have integrated ICAR’s automated identity identification solution. We view Mitek as a strong, established identity verification solutions provider and believe the combination will deliver additional capabilities to our platform giving us a competitive edge,” said Joan Manuel Tabero, CIO of Consumer Finance at Caixa Bank.

Following the acquisition, Mitek will offer extensive identity document coverage in North America, Europe, and Latin America. ICAR will increase Mitek’s digital identity verification capabilities with several new factors of authentication. The acquisition also further enhances Mitek’s desktop capture capabilities, which will enable customer on-boarding and authentication using computers in addition to mobile devices.

ICAR’s computer vision experts are tightly aligned with the Computer Vision Center of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and dedicated to ongoing research and development. The merging of these experts with the Mitek Labs’ machine learning and computer vision scientists will create one of the most powerful research and development teams in the digital identity verification industry.

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”

SCALING UP

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)

 

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