Estonian startup Veriff to verify customers in a Berlin public transport app

The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), the main public transport company of Berlin, the German capital, chose the Estonian online identity verification startup, Veriff, to verify people’s identities in Jelbi, BVG’s freshly launched mobility app.

Jelbi covers Berlin’s entire public transportation system, scooters, bikes, ride-hailing and car sharing, as well as traditional taxis. BVG selected Veriff as a verification partner.

“Veriff comes in when a person wants to use a Jelbi service that requires identity verification and a drivers’ license validation. Veriff’s technology ensures the person is who they claim to be and has a valid driver’s licence,” the Estonian company said in a statement.

Kaarel Kotkas, the founder of Veriff, said his company enabled Jelbi to give a convenient service to people without compromising on security. “BVG makes Berlin a pioneering example of the smart city by merging different mobility providers into a single application. People have easy access to many transportation means within the city. It’s an honour for Veriff to support this innovation with our product,” he said in a statement.

Kaarel Kotkas. Photo by Jake Farra.

Smart city project

BVG’s Jelbi app includes also mobility-service providers, such as the Berlin-based car-sharing startup, MILES Mobility; the e-scooter sharing app, Emmy; and the bike-sharing platform, Nextbike. BVG’s goal is to add another 20+ mobility services to the app.

Veriff said the Berlin collaboration is the first smart city project for the company but indicated it may be the first of the many to follow.

Berlin trams. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

BVG, established in 1928, is completely owned by the state of Berlin. Its transport network is made up of ten underground railway lines, called U-Bahn, 22 tram lines, more than 150 bus lines as well as six ferries.

Veriff was founded in 2015 by then 20-year-old Kaarel Kotkas. The company is now one of the fastest growing startups in Estonia, providing web and mobile identity verification solutions that help reduce fraud.

Cover: A U-Bahn train in Berlin, courtesy of Wikipedia.