Startup of the Day: Evrotrust, a Bulgarian digital ID provider

Evrotrust was founded by George Dimitrov and Konstantin Bezuhanov, starting its operations in 2018 with a focus on providing solutions that help businesses and government institutions digitize their services. The identity-as-a-service platform enables organizations to remotely identify, onboard, and provide services to their customers. Earlier this year, the startup secured a fresh €3.3 million investment led by Silverline Capital, with plans to expand the company’s operations into new European markets.

In the Startup of the Day column, Konstantin Bezuhanov, the co-founder of Evrotrust, shares the details about the startup’s idea, its product, and future plans.

The Startup of the Day column on AIN.Capital is dedicated to tech projects from all sectors that originated from the CEE countries. If you would like to introduce your project, please fill in the questionnaire.

Tell us about your startup. How does it work?

Evrotrust is the evolution of physical identity documents in a digital-first world. We help regulated businesses to digitally transform their customer-facing processes and develop sustainable digital channels. To do this, the Evrotrust platform offers an end-to-end solution for reusable remote electronic identification and digital signing with qualified signatures, directly from the mobile phone.

How did you come up with the startup’s idea? What was the reason/motivation behind it?

We sat down to think about how the world is changing and what are the current bottlenecks that are going to stipple this change. We realized that the success of digitalizing every aspect of our lives is dependent on the ability of participants to prove who they are with certainty and privacy.

In addition, we came to the conclusion that the internet has been missing a real identity layer since birth – a fundamental liability when scaling outside of entertainment and e-commerce. And then our team decided that this is a large enough and noble enough problem affecting billions of people that is worth devoting our lives to.

How long did it take to reach the prototype or MVP? What did you encounter?

By following our hypothesis of the problem, we also took a more ‘creative’ way to make our MVP. In essence, the MVP had to satisfy two main criteria, to allow us to move closer to our vision:

  • First, of course, was the technical development, which took about 12 months to complete.
  • The second equally important part was regulatory acceptance. Acceptance, especially when it comes to certification, was a challenge but this allowed us to complete an M&A transaction within the first year of the company.

When developing the MVP, we decided to approach it differently from current solutions because we’re confident about the must-have features of the “perfect”, identity solution. This confidence enabled us to tackle the problem from a different angle.

When exactly did you launch your product? Or when the launch is planned?

Evrotrust’s operations started in 2018. Within 9 months, Evrotrust was the contracted vendor for 90% of the banks in the local market.

Tell us about the startup’s business model. How do you monetize your product?

Comprehending identity means understanding that it is a basic human right. It is a key to fully participate in an economy as it unlocks basic needs like financial, health, education & utility services. Therefore, Evrotrust’s business model has been always free for the end user. This again was something unthinkable, since the legacy providers of certificates have been operating on the premise that the users pay for certificates.

We decided to turn this on its head, as it makes more sense – the relying party (e.g. the bank) will pay the transaction for the user (e.g. in a process where the bank wants to sign a contract or identify a new-to-bank customer). In essence, whoever receives value covers the cost,

In 2023, the strong traction was reinforced as we were recognized as a notified electronic identification (eID) scheme by the European Commission, opening the doors for citizens of all member states to access public and private services in the entire EU completely digitally in a reusable manner.

What are your target markets and consumers?

The problem is global. We have validated that identity is not just an EU phenomenon, in fact we already have great traction in non-EU countries as well as in Africa.

As of the end of 2023, Evrotrust has over 1.3 million users from 58 countries, and 150 enterprises from 11 countries have already trusted us. Currently, we are targeting European & African continents, but the solution is open to individuals globally.

If the startup has already launched the product, what are the results: metrics, income, or any clear indicators that can be evaluated.

In 2022, Evrotrust was recognized by Deloitte as one of the 50 fastest-growing tech startups in Central Europe for its stunning 958% growth rate. We also have over 1.3 million international users aged between 18 and 80 and over 150 business clients, 15 of which are some of the major banking institutions worldwide.

What about your team? How many people are working in the startup? If you’re looking for new employees, indicate whom exactly.

Evrotrust team includes 70 professionals. However, our goals for 2024 include new market penetration and team expansion by hiring top-tier executives, who have proven track records on walking our journey in the past.

The target for 2024 is to have the team size grow by +50%. The founding team comprises of strong expertise in regulatory and technical background, and we have a welcoming and diverse culture that we are proud of.

Have you already raised any investments? Provide us with more details on each funding round: the amount, investors, the purpose of the investment.

In 2017, we attracted a €500,000 pre-seed investment from one of our first clients. In 2023, we attracted an investment of €2.5 million, from the Bulgarian Development Bank, distinguishing ourselves as a leader in the Central and Eastern European startup space.

At the beginning of 2024, we raised a significant pre-series A investment of €3.3 million from existing clients and private equity fund Silverline Capital.

What’s next? Tell us about your future plans.

Our future plans are to continue to nail on the strong track record of enabling people to easily participate in the digital economy. We are actively scaling with new market penetration, team expansion, and a new product launch – a digital identity wallet for citizens across the world. This wallet will store personal documents such as identity cards, educational diplomas, and driving licenses, ensuring the utmost security and privacy for users, while promoting interoperability with various EU and US digital infrastructures.