Big Idea

Virtual identifier

Creating and securing your digital DNA is now a few clicks away with Bitgram 

Deepak Pawar

Providing a truckload of documents as proof of identification can be a painful experience every time you want a loan or want to open an account in a bank. So what if a bank could automatically identify you every time you walk in for a service. This could soon be a reality thanks to Bengaluru-based start-up, Bitgram. The firm uses machine learning and blockchain technology to create what it calls 'SuperIdentity' — your digital DNA and what’s more, it also protects you from identity theft.

Founded in February 2017 by former Oracle techies Pria Randolph, Rohit Chaturvedi and Prasanna Padmanabhan, Bitgram offers automated digitisation, advanced fraud and forgery detection and forensic intelligence to banks and businesses. So for instance, Bitgram’s algorithm can not only extract all the data from a cheque, which is mostly manually entered, but also can check if the signature on the cheque is forged or authentic. Additionally, it can verify the details on a loan application based on various data points available on a bank’s system and public networks to see if the information provided is consistent.

The Bitgram platform can be licensed as a whole and support both on-premise implementations as well as a cloud version. It is fully API-based, which means easy integration with a business’ legacy systems. It also allows customers to subscribe to the SaaS layer, which is a volume-based subscription model where it charges customers a per-API fee to process documents.

The start-up is already running proof of concepts (POCs) with some of the large banks and NBFCs in India and is currently in talks with banks in Manila and Singapore. It was awarded a POC by Singapore MAS and the Andhra Pradesh government to work on a use-case that depends on driving licences to create SuperIdentities with the help of blockchain.

It is also working with a European life sciences company, which is developing a new drug  to improve the auditability and tamper-proofing of its clinical trial data. This will help ease the approval process by the USFDA. Going ahead, the 11-member team of AI experts and software developers at Bitgram hope to have 20 large businesses on board by the end of FY19. Currently it has two large businesses onboard, is in the process of signing up a third client and 10 more are in various stages of discussions. Talking about the start-up’s inspiration, Randolph says, “Humans have been outsmarting systems and policies. There had to be a way where the truth wins.” At a time when banks and businesses are falling prey to forgery, here is a start-up bringing about a change for the better.