SalesTechStar Interview with André Ferraz, Founder and CEO of Incognia

Today’s digital users are susceptible to so many kinds of online frauds and attacks, André Ferraz, Founder and CEO of Incognia shares a few best practices that can help protect them against these growing vulnerabilities:


Hi Andre, welcome to this SalesTechStar chat! Tell us about the story behind Incognia and how the platform is helping end users today?

Thank you for having me! The main problem when it comes to online authentication and security, is that fraudsters are no longer targeting the tech and the infrastructure of the organization, especially in the financial services space. They are now targeting individuals. For example, last year, 80% of fraud losses in the US were a result of social engineering scams. Fraudsters are trying to convince users to share things like passwords and tokens that enable the fraudster to infiltrate their accounts and steal funds. This is a major pain point, and stemming from this problem is how Incognia came to be. What we do at Incognia is remove the human aspect of authentication by replacing things like passwords, facial recognition, and SMS based two-factor authentication, and we created a solution based on behavioral analytics. Behavioral analytics works by verifying a user’s location by analyzing where the user goes, how they use their phone, and which devices they typically use in order to create a risk profile based on user behavior. 

This creates a much more secure process by humanizing the authentication – this makes it impossible for the fraudster to force the user to enable them to take action to authenticate their account. A bonus benefit is that this makes the authentication process better and easier because the user doesn’t need to do anything to prove their identity. Therefore, the user experience is better, and we do it in a way where the user’s identity is completely anonymized. Secure authentication, frictionless experience, and privacy, all wrapped into one – that’s Incognia.

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What are some of the ways in which you feel end users can be better protected from different kinds of online fraud?

End users can be better protected from online fraud by opting-in to fraud prevention tools within their favorite mobile apps. By opting- in to tools like Incognia’s location based behavioral biometrics, users will experience a frictionless mobile experience while the authentication security runs silently in the background.

As online retail (e-tail) becomes more popular for both product sellers and end users, what should businesses be doing to ensure they can boost the overall buying experience by ensuring safety of data of their users?

Given that vulnerability today is mainly on end users, where they are being targeted to share credentials, the main thing here is how we can address the issue between security and UX with a solution that actually eliminates action on the users behalf. Today, we have enough computer power to observe behavior and identity, and I think that’s the way to go. Merchants, financial institutions, and other companies that interact with end users should move away from static credentials and start adopting a more analytical and behavioral approach for assessing risk and authenticating users – this allows for much better UX and security for their users. 

How can online retailers use different intelligence and data like location intel to drive online product sales and buying experiences with impact?

One situation that creates friction is when a user is opening an online account and they have to provide multiple documents to authenticate their identity. In many cases, data from a platform like Incognia have large networks with multiple users and can streamline the authentication process by leveraging data from their broader and bigger platforms. 

When it comes to e-commerce more specifically, sites will usually request an address, whether for delivery or billing purposes. With location data, you are able to verify if a user is located at that address, or if a device is used multiple times at that address. We see 93% of addresses provided are from where users go on a weekly basis. That can streamline the process tremendously.

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How are better data and buying journeys impactful in building stronger customer retention objectives in your view? Can you share a few examples of brands who have mastered this over the years?

Curating a frictionless experience for the user is essential for customer retention purposes. By implementing solutions like Zero Factor Authentication (0FA), where the behavioral analytics can work in the background to keep users safe, friction is eliminated and the process is streamlined. 

A few thoughts on the kind of salestech or ecommerce technologies that have been useful in building better online experiences?

Utilizing technology that authenticates in the background is key. With the new passwordless movement, other forms of authentication including 2FA, OTPs, and facial recognition are popping up – but these solutions still bring heavy friction which can be frustrating to the consumer. To build a better online experience, authentication must work in the background and be completely frictionless. 

Some last thoughts and entrepreneurial takeaways before we wrap up?

I’d say the main idea is that there is now tech that can help companies address this balancing act between security and UX, and I believe companies should definitely invest in that – it’s what consumers are looking for, in the end. Platforms that can secure their data and accounts but offer a pleasant experience – it was hard to address those both at the same time previously, and a lot of security solutions create friction for end user – but with a technology solution like Incognia, it’s a good time for companies to enhance authentication flow and UX for customers. A pretty exciting moment.

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Incognia is a privacy-first innovator in location technology, enabling frictionless zero-factor authentication for mobile.

André is the Co-Founder and CEO at Incognia

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