Bangladesh and others



Type of Investment

Grant & Risk Capital

Project Stage

Test & Transition

Length of Investment


Investment Overview

Simprints is developing a suite of mobile biometric hardware and software tools (initially focused on fingerprints) to address the challenges of identification and verification of people who lack formal identity.


The Development Challenge

The World Bank estimates that 1.5 billion people worldwide do not officially exist, lacking any type of formal identification. Reliable ID is essential to healthcare provision, such as linking children to their vaccination records or tracking antenatal care for expecting mothers. Lack of official identity documentation such as national ID cards or birth certificates obstructs people's access to financial and health rights and services, costing lives, wasting resources (e.g. redundant vaccinations), and preventing health and finance organisations from reaching millions of beneficiaries.


The Innovation

Simprints is a non-profit technology company that builds open-source software and biometric hardware that empowers the mobile tools used by researchers, NGOs, and governments fighting poverty around the globe. Recognising a significant gap in current biometric technology, the team has developed an open-source fingerprint system for the world’s toughest settings that is 200%+ more accurate and 4x cheaper than existing solutions.


Our Investment

GIF initially provided a $200,000 grant to fund the development and implementation of a sustainable delivery model of Simprints’ biometric identity hardware, and software products in Bangladesh and Nepal for GIF’s target beneficiaries. GIF provided follow-on funds, in the form of a £2.1m revolving credit facility, to ensure that Simprints continues to service its contracts. 


Theory of Change

Unique IDs can help in identifying patients and their medical history. This information can help in closely monitoring treatment of patients and tracking them to ensure that consistent and accurate care is being provided. This is particularly relevant for diseases like HIV and TB, maternal and neonatal health services, and children vaccination.

Additionally, in the presence of information asymmetry, individuals may exploit it and reduce their effort. In some cases, it may even lead to fraud where performance data and outcomes are misreported. Removing these information gaps can reduce the inefficiencies in the system, saving scare resources, improving service delivery, and providing valuable data regarding the needs of people.


Why we invested

Important development problem that disproportionately impacts GIF’s target beneficiaries who live on <$2/day.

Cost effective hardware and deployment costs, providing for high margins and strong unit economics.

Strong alignment with GIF’s priority of Covid-19 response demonstrated by Simprints’ work on healthcare delivery and Covid-19 project pipeline.

Promising commercial traction – cost-effective hardware, more accurate products; significant interest from potential clients.

Strong team – competent, impact-oriented, and evidence-committed.


Simprints in numbers


People reached


More accurate than existing systems


Simprints Impact Brief

Globally, one billion people alive today do not officially exist. Identification has become increasingly essential for people to access basic services and exercise their rights. Its absence is not just an outcome of underdevelopment, but also a driver. This lack of formal identity perpetuates poverty by restricting access to welfare-improving social programmes and economic opportunities, and these challenges disproportionately affect those who live in the world’s poorest countries. In the context of health services and public health management, linking patients to their records is critical for efficient and effective service delivery, particularly with vaccinations for children which require successive care visits. Fragmented data also creates challenges for governments to plan and target resources accurately towards diseases which have the highest burden.

Integrated biometric technologies can verify service delivery, improve efficiency, and ensure adherence in interventions requiring iterative engagement such as HIV-AIDS and Tuberculosis. Simprints is a non-profit technology company building and deploying biometric identification solutions designed specifically for last-mile markets to improve and track the delivery of goods and services by NGOs and governments. Simprints provides identification/verification and analytics services to nonprofits, governments, and other development actors around the world. Simprints is working to fill a gap in the market where many biometric technologies are expensive, inaccurate in low-income settings, poorly designed, or are provided by companies lacking development sector expertise. Simprints provides mobile hardware to scan fingerprints, as well as a mobile app and a cloud-based system for data aggregation, deduplication of repeat records (one person, one record), and analytics. The company also developed a camera-based, contactless biometric product, which reduces risks of Covid-19 infection through surface and human-to-human transmission.

Use of GIF Funds

In 2016, GIF provided Simprints with a pilot grant of £150,000. The funding was used for:

  1. Simprints’ product development, as part of testing whether there is a sustainable revenue opportunity, and

  2. contribution to the biometric evidence base via strengthening a randomised evaluation of a biometric-enabled community health programme in Bangladesh.

Based on Simprints’ promising work and results from the earlier grant, from 2020 to 2022, GIF is providing a £2,100,000 revolving line of credit to Simprints for working capital management that will enable the company to engage in larger national scale-up projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.


Tailor investment instruments to support Simprints’ expansion. Through this investment GIF also aims to demonstrate a case for non-profit organisations to access capital from conventional lenders. With this investment Simprints seeks to:

  • Utilise the credit facility to manage liquidity risks and demonstrate market readiness to later access mainstream sources of finance;

  • Partner with governments and new funders for scale-up contracts, and;

  • Continue to develop market-leading approaches to deploying biometrics ethically and responsibly in line with privacy and data security standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Impact to Date

Since GIF provided a pilot grant in 2016, Simprints has deployed its technology in 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia predominantly in the global health, education, and humanitarian aid sectors. The company has reached more than 1,200,000 beneficiaries worldwide.