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Funding

Identity verification fintech Data Zoo banks $35 million after 13 years of bootstrapping

- May 14, 2024 2 MIN READ
Tony Fitzgibbon and Charlie Minutella 
Data Zoo founder Tony Fitzgibbon and CEO Charlie Minutella 
Sydney fintech Data Zoo has raised $35 million (US$22.7m) taking on external capital for the first time.

The funding came from Ashok Jacob’s Sydney investment firm, Ellerston Capital, via its JAADE fund, which has also backed startups Mable, Camms, and Phocas.

The deal values the business at more than $100 million.

Data Zoo’s software provides know your customer (KYC) identity verification for major financial institutions, payment providers, and fintech startups using patented technology that enhances KYC compliance and fraud prevention.

It was developed by founder Tony Fitzgibbon and chief information officer Memoona Anwar using tech that reduces costs and risks for businesses, while safeguarding customer privacy by eliminating the need for identity data storage.

Fitzgibbon stepped down as CEO after a decade at the helm in February this year. He bootstrapped the company he founded in 2011 to more than 80 employees globally, with 10 offices around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the US and Europe.

He remains chair, with former London Stock Exchange executive Charlie Minutella taking on the CEO role from New York.

The fresh funds will be used to drive adoption and innovation in Data Zoo’s ID verification software, which has access to identity data from more tham 170 countries. Its customer base includes a Big Four Australian bank, global social media brand, and three of the top global payment providers.

Fitzgibbon said the rise of fraud and identity theft was a major opportunity for his fintech.

“There’s been a long-standing need for a more efficient and secure way to verify identities. Data Zoo has spent years refining its solution – the result has been incredible innovation, UX optimisation, and growth in a fiercely competitive market, putting us head-to-head with today’s most established identity providers,” he said.

“Ellerston JAADE spotted an opportunity in Data Zoo’s proven ability to help global firms verify consumer and business identities, reduce fraud, and meet global compliance standards.”

The company featured in the Deloitte Fast 50 in 2021 (#31, 495% growth) and 2022 (#41 321% growth) and Ellerston JAADE investment director David Leslie said they were impressed by the company’s international expansion, especially into challenging markets like North America.

“Data Zoo’s impressive growth, solidifying itself as a trusted identity provider against well-established competitors – all without prior funding – is no small feat,” he said.

“We are pleased to support them as they continue to scale in the identity verification industry.”

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