Mitek CEO Jim DeBello stands in front of a bank vault at the company’s headquarters in downtown San Diego. The company, formerly headquartered in Kearny Mesa, leases about 29,000 square feet in the office tower at 600 B St., in downtown San Diego. The building formerly housed a bank, and Mitek retained its vault when it remodeled the office.

Mitek CEO Jim DeBello stands in front of a bank vault at the company’s headquarters in downtown San Diego. The company, formerly headquartered in Kearny Mesa, leases about 29,000 square feet in the office tower at 600 B St., in downtown San Diego. The building formerly housed a bank, and Mitek retained its vault when it remodeled the office. Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle.

— “In the U.S. we have 400 active licenses from 50 states; vertical formats, horizontal formats (and) new versions that come out with different security features that aren’t being promoted, but are being (implemented) to keep ahead of the bad guys,” DeBello said. “Our job is to read all that stuff.”

Mitek has an advantage over newer entrants in the digital identity space because of its established relationships with financial institutions, which are required to gather information on customers in an effort to prevent them from being used to facilitate money laundering and other financial crimes.

Having people do that task isn’t possible at the volume at which companies need the service, DeBello said.

“You can’t scale the business and keep up with the changes accurately,” he said.

Using machine learning, the Mitek platform adapts to changes in identity documents. It also uses facial recognition tools to determine whether the person providing a digital image of an ID is the person pictured by requesting a selfie for comparison purposes.

Licensing and Maintenance

Mitek’s revenue comes from the sale of licenses to use its products, which use its patented technologies. A secondary revenue stream comes from providing maintenance and other services for those products. 

Demand for technology that can help determine whether users are who they claim to be online, coupled with rising awareness by consumers of the level of fraudulent activity online, has created a new market for companies like Mitek that have technology to assist businesses in reducing data breaches.

DeBello said the Equifax hack, in which the data of 143 million Americans was breached, and the recent revelations about online activity by Russian operatives in an attempt to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, brought the notion of how to secure digital information and verify it to the forefront of consumers’ minds.

European Acquisitions

A trio of acquisitions in recent years in Western Europe related to that business has expanded Mitek’s footprint outside of its North America home base. In 2015, the company set up European headquarters in the Netherlands after purchasing Dutch software company IDchecker for more than $10 million in 2015. In 2017 it acquired Barcelona-based ICAR Vision Systems for $15 million. And earlier in 2018, it spent about $50 million to add on artificial intelligence firm A2iA, which is headquartered in Paris.

DeBello says additional geographic expansion is ahead for the company, which anticipates $60 million in revenue in fiscal 2018, or year-over-year growth of more than 30 percent.