ID Verification Startup Jumio Files Chapter 11

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has offered $22.7 million to buy the company, which has been struggling to raise funding.
Matthew HellerMarch 21, 2016

Identity verification startup Jumio filed for bankruptcy protection Monday with a plan to sell substantially all its assets to Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin for $22.7 million.

Court papers show Jumio owes Saverin, one of its early investors, a total of $15.7 million. His bid for the company, much of which consists of debt forgiveness, would be subject to rival offers through a bankruptcy court-supervised auction process.

Jumio Acquisition, a new entity formed by Saverin, “is pleased to make this stalking horse bid to facilitate an orderly transition to a promising future for Jumio,” Saverin said in a news release.

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Jumio attributed the Chapter 11 filing to financing problems resulting from government investigations into financial irregularities and stock sales by its former management team. Saverin is providing the company with $3.7 million in financing to support its ongoing operations during the bankruptcy process.

“Despite some of the challenges Jumio’s leadership team inherited, our underlying business remains exceptionally strong,” CEO Stephen Stuut said. “The court-supervised sale and restructuring process will allow us to strengthen the Company’s financial structure and extend our leadership position in ID verification.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Jumio’s mobile and online products — Fastfill, BAM Checkout, and Netverify — use computer vision technology to verify identity credentials such as drivers’ licenses and passports for customers including United Airlines and Airbnb.

Before the bankruptcy petition, Jumio had raised nearly $37 million in outside funding, according to CrunchBase. In addition to Saverin, investors include venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and Citi Ventures.

“Like other emerging technology companies, Jumio says it relies largely on investors to fund its growth and isn’t yet profitable,” the WSJ said. “The [government] investigations have left the company struggling to find new sources of funding, leaving it with few alternatives to bankruptcy.”

Jumio has proposed that rival bids be submitted by April 26, with an auction scheduled to follow April 28. Stuut said in court papers that more than 30 potential purchasers have expressed interest in the company’s assets, which it has been marketing since late February.