LIFT99 is Lifting Veriff
By Ragnar Sass, CEO & Founder of LIFT99,
& Kadri Barclay, Head of Marketing at LIFT99
I am super happy to share with you the news Kaarel Kotkas announced this morning - Veriff raised an A Round of $7.7 mil & LIFT99 is on board of this amazing ride, as a friend & an investor! The round is led by Mosaic Ventures & includes Taavet Hinrikus, Ashton Kutcher, Paul Buchheit, Elad Gil, SV Angel, ACE Ventures, Superangel & LIFT99.
At 23 years old, Kaarel is the best example of a young relentless founder with mega energy & the mindset of never giving up. Despite making some stupid mistakes along the way (like giving up too much equity to investors; it's ok - he was only 20), he has kept on going. Always.
I met Kaarel on November 28th, 2017 in Renard Coffee shop in Tallinn. It was the Accel & Karma VC event & we were sitting on the exact same couch as we are on the picture here. He had just been rejected from Y Combinator but I absolutely refused to accept this as YC's final answer. So we cooked up a crazy plan of how to fix this (there is ALWAYS a way).
Just 2 days after putting our master-plan to action (it involved some smart conversations & fixing the unfundable cap table), Kaarel heard encouraging feedback during Slush from one of the partners of Y Combinator, Gustaf Alströmer. 4 weeks in, Y Combinator officially changed the verdict & accepted Veriff to YC batch 18.
As far I know, YC has never changed their mind in such a short time-frame.
This was good news but it meant a huge amount of work for Kaarel & everybody involved. And, oh boy, it all happened during Christmas & New Year! I was in Guayaquil, Ecuador at the time & remember super clearly how I used my last minutes of internet to help sort this out before going completely off the grid & offline on the Galapagos islands. Things move fast in the startup world, solutions have to move faster!
From the moment Kaarel landed in California in January, Veriff took off the ground completely. YC started to attract lots of interest for Veriff, especially in the USA. Company's revenue grew so fast, it made into break-even. Soon he was on the radar of each & every respected investor within Silicon Valley.
For the next weeks & months, Kaarel slept 2-3 hours a night. And then came the YC demo day where Veriff broke all the records. More than 200 investors were so impressed that they pretty much "battled" for Kaarel’s attention - you can imagine what was happening in Kaarel’s mailbox & calendar at the time.
Fast forward half a year & here we are - Veriff just raised over $7 million. I believe this A Round is just the start & I’m super happy that Kaarel has already proved so many fucking times that there are no impossible situations! None! Challenges are for breaking - they'll become the fuel & leverage for one's success.
By the way, the investment, of course, goes into taking Veriff even further. Kaarel is actively looking for crazy & passionate folks, just like himself, who are ready to prove that impossible is just a word: veriff.me/jobs
This is not LIFT99's first time to invest in a promising startup with amazing founders - read the story of Dashbird.