Jumio, nearly two years out of Chapter 11, seeks a buyer: sources

Jumio Corp is going up for sale, less than two years since emerging from bankruptcy, four sources said.

The online verification company has been interviewing bankers, people said. Evercore was tapped to run the Jumio process, one of the sources said.

The Jumio auction is slated to start in March; it is seeking bids of $500 million, people said.

Jumio, Palo Alto, California, has three products — Netverify, BAM Checkout and Fastfill — that help businesses verify documents, like passports and drivers licenses, using mobile apps and online. Customers include WeWork, Coinbase, Airbnb and UAE Exchange.

The sale comes nearly two years since Jumio filed for Chapter 11. In March 2016, Jumio sought bankruptcy protection after government investigations into accounting irregularities at the company made it difficult for it to raise funding, Reuters said.

In 2015 Jumio, ousted its then CEO and Founder Daniel Mattes due to the investigations, Fortune reported. Stephen Stuut, former chief executive of TruePosition, was named Jumio’s CEO in June of that year.

The Equifax scandal, in which 145 million American consumers saw their personal information exposed in a data breach, has given a huge boost to companies in the ID-verification space. Last month, Facebook confirmed it had acquired Confirm.io, which has an API that lets other companies verify someone’s government-issued ID, TechCrunch said.

Jumio, before its Chapter 11, raised nearly $40 million in funding, PitchBook said. Investors included Andreessen Horowitz and Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin. (Saverin tried to buy Jumio out of bankruptcy but his offer was “vehemently opposed” by shareholders, the WSJ said.)

Centana Growth Partners acquired Jumio out of bankruptcy in May 2016. PitchBook valued the deal at $900,000. Months later, in August, the company collected $15 million in funding from Centana and Millennium Technology Value Partners.

Jumio has apparently prospered. The company said Feb. 1 that business had doubled to more than 100 million identity verifications. Recurring revenue increased 96 percent year-over-year, while sales grew more than 176 percent, the company said.

If successful, a Jumio sale would represent one of the first exits for Centana.

The New York growth-equity firm was launched by former FTV Capital executives in 2015, Buyouts has reported. Ben Cukier, partner, along with Eric Byunn and Steven Swain, also partners, started Centana. Cukier and Byunn were both partners at FTV, while Swain is former president of Global X Management, an ETF provider.

Centana’s debut fund closed on $250 million in June, Buyouts said. The growth firm focuses exclusively on financial services. Other investments include Blueprint Systems, One Inc, Quantitative Brokers, SheerID and Vena Solutions.

Millennium Technology, New York, is known for buying private shares owned by employees and venture capital firms in companies like Facebook, Twitter and Spotify. Millennium also provides growth capital.

Jumio declined comment.  Evercore, Centana and Millennium could not be reached for comment.

Action Item: Contact Centana’s Ben Cukier at +1 212-256-8450

Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin speaks at the Tech in Asia Singapore 2016 conference in Singapore on April 12, 2016. Photo Courtesy REUTERS/Edgar Su