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Simprints — Impact Briefs

Introduction

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 non-profits, 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.

Objectives

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.