Meaningful Business (MB:) Please tell us a bit about your background.
Robin Tombs (RT:) I worked at PWC as a Chartered Accountant from 1993 to 1997 in the UK before co-founding IDM, a web game business that was sold in 1999, ahead of co-founding Gamesys, one of the world’s leading online gaming operators.
I’m also an investor in a number of early-stage for-profit and social UK businesses.
I also set up charity ZING in 2009 as I am passionate about creating opportunities for young people to achieve their potential in life and to support bringing scalable web and mobile technologies to the not-for-profit sector.
MB: What led you to start Yoti?
RT: When we started Yoti in 2014, technology was advancing quickly and opening opportunities for businesses and individuals. Everything was going digital, except our ID. Identity fraud was growing and fraudsters were getting away with it too easily.
Fast forward to 2021 and this continues to gather pace, and our ID remains one of the last frontiers to truly go digital. People are still stuck with outdated identity processes and prohibitive costs that mean many can’t even prove who they are; and that’s here in the UK, the challenges are even worse in emerging countries sadly.
MB: What are the main problems you are trying to solve?
RT: The identity system is broken. It’s not right that ID fraud continues to grow and the basics of proving who we are can be so tough, many people cannot afford an ID. It doesn’t make sense that we rely on decades-old processes and forms, sharing excessive amounts of information. Millions of ID documents are also lost and stolen every year.
Yoti is a secure digital identity platform that makes it more convenient for people to prove who they are in the physical and digital world, in a way that protects their privacy and promotes data minimisation. It’s a secure platform for everyone around the world.
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now?
RT: National and international regulation can’t keep up with the pace of change in technology – more needs to be done to bring technology like Yoti’s to the forefront of tackling society’s issues.
MB: What is your vision for the future of your business?
RT: I want Yoti to be a company people know they can trust to look after their data and make proving who they are simpler and safer – all around the world. I want our technology to protect individuals and businesses, and tackle the key issues that society faces, as we continue on our mission to be the world’s trusted identity platform.
We’ll do this through our team’s great talent and drive, plus partnerships like Post Office in the UK to make our solutions easy to access and available to anyone. This will include identity verification, age verification, authentication, e-signing, and we will speed up and secure verification processes, protecting people from the ever-growing risk of identity fraud.
MB: What is your advice to other leaders who want to combine profit and purpose?
RT: Find your purpose and build a dedicated team of people and partners that believe in your mission.
MB – What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
RT – Do things to the best of your ability and treat others as you would hope to be treated.
MB – Who inspires you?
RT – Nelson Mandela
MB – How do you define success?
RT – Being part of a team that works hard and smart and achieves goals.
MB – What is something you wish you were better at?
RT – Speaking foreign languages.
MB – What is the one book everyone should read?
RT – The Struggle is my Life – Nelson Mandela.
MB – What do you do to relax?
RT – Watch my kids play sports.
Discover the other MB100 leaders recognised for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2020, here.