Incognia: The Story Behind This Innovative User Verification And Authentication Company

By Amit Chowdhry • Jul 10, 2024

Incognia is the innovator of next-generation identity solutions that enable secure and seamless digital experiences. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Incognia co-founder and CEO André Ferraz to learn more about the company.

André Ferraz’s Background

Andre Ferraz - Incognia

What is Ferraz’s background? Ferraz said:

“My father was a computer science professor, so growing up, I was always around computers. Because of that, computers and technology became a passion of mine. As I got older, I became more familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT) and realized quickly that the way we were doing things wasn’t going to cut it in this new world. More specifically, the security aspect of our online world. I dabbled in hacking myself, as I wanted to understand the vulnerabilities of these machines, and it was clear that the authentication systems we were using weren’t going to keep people safe in this new online environment.”

“There was a need, and I kept the question ‘how can we create a frictionless experience for users that also maximizes security?’ in the back of my mind as I attended Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Brazil for a Bachelor’s degree in computer science. While there, I launched my first company based on the location technology my co-founders and I developed. After this first endeavor, we were on a journey to the fraud prevention space – where I have wanted to be ever since.”

Formation Of Incognia

How did the idea for Incognia come together? Ferraz shared:

“There’s a quote that I like from Mark Weiser, the father of ubiquitous computing, that has been a lighthouse for me throughout my career. Weiser said: ‘The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.’”

“My very early exposure to computers and the concept of the Internet of Things instilled in me a drive to develop a new model of identifying users that would provide maximum security and a seamless experience – a model that wouldn’t depend on collecting a user’s information. As Weiser said, it would be invisible.”

“It wasn’t easy, of course, carving out a category like this, especially so early on in the age of the Internet. Some failed attempts taught my co-founders and me a lot about the industry and what we could bring to the table. Eventually, we were able to find our niche in ad tech with a product that revolutionized mobile marketing for physical retailers using indoor location technology. Our core offering used location tech to optimize mobile ads to bring foot traffic to physical stores. Even though we experienced fast success, everything changed in 2020 because of the pandemic. With COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions, our offering became obsolete. Ultimately, we ended up pivoting and bringing our mission back to fraud prevention and focused on “a world where digital trust is unseen yet part of everyday life”. This led us to launch Incognia at the end of 2020.”

Favorite Memory

What has been Ferraz’s favorite memory working for the company so far? Ferraz reflected:

“It’s been an incredible journey so far. Incognia started as a college project, so my co-founders and I have been through a lot together. We spent many nights building the source code of our technology. Our first office in Brazil had doors as tables. We got a few old doors that were pretty inexpensive, cut them to size, and made them tables for us to work at. I like looking back on that memory and realizing how far we’ve come as both a company and as individuals.”

“Something that happened this year and puts into perspective how far we’ve come was closing Series B and having an ad run on the NASDAQ Ad Tower. That was a huge milestone for us and one we’re so excited about.”

Core Products

What are Incognia’s core products and features? Ferraz explained:

“At the core of all of our offerings is fraud prevention. And we do this with an innovative approach to user verification and authentication. Incognia offers next-generation identity solutions that enable secure and seamless digital experiences.”

“Incognia recognizes users across multiple devices through its cross-device fingerprinting. By combining a next-generation device fingerprint and location intelligence, we can recognize users across web and mobile devices, even after a factory reset. This prevents devices from giving false positives or allowing a user to pretend to be someone else, enabling us to confidently give legitimate users a frictionless experience.”

“Another core offering is our device tamper detection. Incognia can analyze the integrity of devices and determine whether it’s manipulating data provided to whatever app they are using. Devices that are jailbroken, have root access, are running a GPS spoofing application, or tampering with apps pose a significant security risk. So, Incognia’s ability to detect that type of behavior combats policy abuse and fraud and increases trust within the platforms.”

“Finally, location identity verification combines online activity with real-world location signals, creating the first line of defense against fraud. This enables businesses to seamlessly verify users and addresses by binding device insights, tamper-proof exact location data, and physical address data into one unique identifier. Basically, our tech is going to flag if your online account is being accessed from a location you’re not typically in. This prevents major problems like account takeovers.”

Challenges Faced

What challenges has Ferraz and the team faced in building the company? Ferraz acknowledged:

“This industry is fascinating because it’s constantly evolving. As tech gets better, fraudsters get more innovative and professionalized, but so do we.”

“We’ve been seeing a trend of more technologically advanced fraudsters. With the introduction of Generative AI, deepfakes and other sophisticated techniques to bypass security measures, there are so many new opportunities for bad actors to take advantage of. The ways and the avenues fraudsters are attacking have also been evolving, and it’s essential for those who work in fraud prevention to act quickly, pivot when needed, and stay ahead of fraudsters and their sophisticated techniques.”

“I have been engaging with a few experts in the fraud prevention space and I found out that some companies have decided to build their own fraud prevention tools. However, the reality is that they only see very good results in the first few days because their businesses are being attacked in a certain way. When a solution is designed, it addresses the current vulnerabilities the platform has, but fraudsters are more professionalized and can now adapt quickly to new circumstances. So, as soon as they’re stopped, they’ll try to find vulnerabilities in the new system. They’ll most likely find some, and once they do, they will not only start attacking the system but also automating the attack method, and, in many cases, share that information with their peers, which means more people attacking the vulnerabilities.”

“The challenge isn’t so much building a solution that can stop certain attacks, but it’s keeping that solution up to date so it can stop all future attacks, too. That’s why it makes a lot of sense to find trustworthy vendor partners who constantly invest in R&D and are continuously focused on defending against the latest attacks, just like we do at Incognia.”

Evolution Of Incognia’s Technology

How has the company’s technology evolved since launching? Ferraz noted:

“Where we fit in the market has changed since we first launched. Because the industry moves so quickly, we’ve needed to do that too. Throughout this journey, Incognia has enhanced its precision level, which is now 17 times more precise than FaceID, and also the way we analyze data, what we look for, and how we detect fraud have all changed since our initial launch, and they will continue to change as the needs of our markets, food delivery, ride sharing/ride hailing, marketplaces, e-commerce, and financial services, evolve. Each industry has its unique challenges.”

Significant Milestones

What have been some of the company’s most significant milestones? Ferraz cited:

“We’ve been fortunate to hit a few milestones on our journey, the first being building our tech and finding our place in the market. We knew there was a need for this, but carving out space for ourselves wasn’t easy. So when we finally reached the point where we realized we had identified the demand we needed to meet, that propelled us forward.”

“From there, it was about getting that outside validation. Like I said, we knew we had a great product to offer, but we wanted other people to see that as well. So when we signed our first customers in the US and Brazil, we had that moment of ‘okay, we’re doing it.’”

“Closing Series A in June of 2022, just 18 months after our official launch, and then a Series B round earlier this year were two very important moments for us because they demonstrated that we had something people believed in and thought mattered. The finance helped us refine our solutions by improving our tech and will ultimately lead to us expanding our global footprint.

“To help illustrate the momentum, Incognia was recently named to the esteemed 2024 Fintech Innovation 50 list and was the 2023 winner of the Datos Insights Fraud and AML Impact Awards as the Best Digital Identity Verification solution in Fraud Prevention. These awards demonstrate just some of the recognition our distinguished technology has received.”

Customer Success Stories

After asking Ferraz about customer success stories, he highlighted:

“We recently worked with an app-based car rental marketplace that had an onboarding process during account creation that imposed a high level of friction. Users needed to provide documents to prove their address and then their accounts needed to be validated. This process caused legitimate users to abandon account creation, ultimately hindering the platform’s growth. Simply put, verifying you were a real person at a valid address in order to create an account wasn’t seamless, leading to users getting frustrated and not even bothering to make the account. So we implemented our Location Verification solution, which only required new users to initiate account creation and provide a valid driver’s license. From there, our tech took over to verify their identity. As a result, the app-based car rental marketplace saw an 84% decrease in new user abandonment.

“Another example of our work is with a large food delivery platform that was suffering from a new social engineering attack in which bad-acting couriers were stealing cash payments from customers when delivering their orders. The app took action by closing all implicated accounts and flagging the involved devices. However, customer support continued to receive complaints. In an attempt to retain customers, the app was issuing refunds which was driving up its total fraud losses. Using our active identity assurance signal, we were able to determine how these bad actors were circumventing the safety measures in place and decrease fraud on the platform.”

“The financial services space can also be very vulnerable to fraud. We worked with a fintech company that planned to add new financial features for its users, including the capability to purchase 3rd-party coupons and request and obtain personal loans through their mobile app. They anticipated an increase in fraud as a result and sought our help to prevent that. They implemented Incognia’s location identity as their first security layer to increase authentication security and reduce friction by replacing the use of facial biometrics for every login attempt, leaving it only as a step-up authentication. This move slashed authentication costs for the company by 51%.”


After asking Ferraz about funding and revenue information, he revealed:

“We’ve closed two funding rounds, Series A for $15.5 million and a Series B round for $31 million. Since our Series A round, we have achieved remarkable success, including tripling revenue, realizing 200% net revenue retention, and converting 100% of trials. We’ve delivered six times the return on investment to its clients while saving them millions of dollars per contract on average.”

Total Addressable Market

What total addressable market (TAM) size is the company pursuing? Ferraz assessed:

“Any company around the world can use our offerings because our tech can be integrated into mobile apps and web platforms anywhere and Incognia uses solely its proprietary tech and data, meaning there is no need to integrate 3rd party databases. We have target markets, which include gig economy platforms, such as food delivery and ride-hailing, but also e-commerce, marketplaces, and financial services. Social media platforms are also part of our customer portfolio. Still, we can work with companies in the consumer internet world, for both mobile and web.”

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates the company from its competition? Ferraz affirmed:

“I’d say the level of precision and accuracy of our technology and solutions and the fact that Incognia is truly frictionless for legitimate users. Additionally, we take a much more proactive and innovative approach to fraud than most companies in our space.”

“Our mission is to empower safe and seamless digital experiences by combining unparalleled security, privacy and convenience. We want to be a signal that companies and users trust – one that is going to enhance their protection but not compromise their privacy or experience. Our unmatched technology, our vision and our strong team, led by our values of trust, ambition and excellence, are what sets us apart.”

Future Company Goals

What are some of the company’s future company goals? Ferraz pointed out:

“Expansion, expansion, expansion. Not only do we want to expand our offerings, but we also want to expand our global footprint. And continuously developing and evolving our technology and solutions, with a strong focus on R&D.”

Additional Thoughts

Any other topics you’d like to discuss? Ferraz concluded:

“Over the past decade, fraud prevention has emerged as a great career option. There is a lot of demand in the industry, and big companies are investing in recruitment and training.

The advice I’d offer to anyone looking to succeed in this industry is:

  • Constantly test new approaches
  • Be very data-driven
  • Keep your options open. Don’t get married to a single vendor
  • Be passionate, borderline obsessed, about catching the bad actors”