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Omani duo creates country’s first digital identity platform

26 Sep 2022 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Muscat – Techies Ahmed al Marjeby and Mahmood al Lawati have created a platform, called Nashid, to mitigate risks of identity fraud.

Marjeby, co-founder and CEO of Nashid, earlier founded two tech startups in the e-commerce and blockchain technologies, while Lawati, co-founder and CTO, has previous experience of founding a property tech startup.

As a team, they have technical and business expertise with a cumulative experience of over 12 years in tech startups, which helped them focus on creating digital identities for people utilised by enterprises for digital services.

In 2020, Marjeby found his online identity had been hacked – one among 2.5mn others whose identity had been stolen on the Internet. Since paper-based identity documents cannot be verified digitally, stolen identity data can be used to impersonate any individual for fraudulent activities.

But opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune and defeat. Nashid took shape a year after Marjeby’s identity was hacked following a conversation about digitising identities he had with Lawati at a coffee shop in Azaiba.

They have identified the missing ‘digital identity layer’ as being the problem of our times, where the use of paper-based identity documents creates manual workflows requiring in-person verifications. It is outdated, physically taxing, and no longer fit for use in the digital economy, the two claimed.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Lawati said, “Nashid as a digital identity platform powered by blockchain that allows service providers to verify new and existing customers digitally.”

Nashid also creates secure and reusable digital identities that are portable and verifiable. This mitigates risk of identity fraud, automates businesses’ ability to verify users digitally, and removes the need for in-person identity verifications.

Additionally, Nashid develops and assigns verifiable digital identities to businesses and people. This allows a digitally native solution to exist that can verify the identity of both users and businesses, automate online identity verifications, and mitigate all issues of identity fraud and impersonations.

According to Lawati, Nashid is an enterprise-ready platform for businesses and a wallet app for end-users. The enterprise element allows service providers – banks and finance companies, telecommunications service providers, healthcare, aviation and oil and gas companies – to verify users’ identities with seamless integration to their legacy systems and business processes.

End-users’ wallet app will ensure users have control and ownership of their identity information, and establish a clear ‘consent-based’ model of data exchange, which complies with local regulations and personal data protection laws.

“Nashid participated in the pitch competition at COMEX in June 2022 and was chosen as a Top 10 project by a powerhouse investment committee. Later, it secured a pre-seed investment as part of the Techween programme of Oman Technology Fund,” Lawati said.

Nashid has also won the Omani chapter of the Entrepreneurship World Cup 2022 (Idea stage) organised by the Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development. By winning the Omani chapter, Nashid qualified for the upcoming global finals to compete against national winners from around the world for a Top 100 spot. It is one of biggest and most diverse startup pitch competitions featuring more than 370,000 entrepreneurs from over 200 countries.

Of the future, Lawati said, “With Nashid, we hope to contribute to Oman’s efforts of being a digital-first nation and achieving the roadmap to Oman Vision 2040. This will be done by enabling a native digital experience, and becoming the identity layer of the digital economy.”

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