Charlette N’Guessan is the technology entrepreneur behind BACE API, a software that uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to verify identities remotely. In 2020 Charlette was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, Africa’s largest prize dedicated to engineering innovation.
While facial recognition software isn’t new, BACE API uses live images or short videos taken on in-built phone cameras to detect whether a person is real, or just photo. During the global pandemic, BACE API emerged as a viable and secure solution to the “know your customer” (KYC) challenge faced by financial institutions.
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- “In Africa right now we have local people, young people who have the skills and want to be part of a change. They're doing their best to find challenges, solve them, and prove technologies. So I'm really confident for the future, It’s going to be amazing."
- “Our facial recognition software has live detection, where we can help the clients to know if the person looking at a camera is real. And the second one is matching faces, where we can make sure that the person who is trying to apply for online services is actually the owner of the ID document.”
- “We decided to start with the local market and the African market and talk to banks and businesses. We noticed that they have a huge problem in terms of KYC (Know Your Customers) and also, they spent a lot of money in that process.”
- “We wanted to keep that natural feeling to make sure that people don’t feel like they have to come take a fingerprint, or photograph their eyes. We wanted to keep that natural feeling of ‘I’m using my face to verified’. COVID-19 showed that facial recognition is actually a good option because people can do a lot of things remotely and be verified.”
- “I’m happy to be an entrepreneur to work with local people to solve key challenges and to be part of those innovators in Africa.”
- “Basically my advice for women would be that you need to do your own research, you need to discover this industry by yourself and talk to the right people. Don’t be scared to just ask in the tech industry, because there are a lot of opportunities and you can really grow as a tech entrepreneur, even as a developer. There are so many ways to work with tech. So just find your way.”
- “I think one lesson I’ve learned is that you need to make sure you have a good team. It’s a journey, there are a lot of challenges that will happen at some point, so you need to have a good team that will support you at any moment and have the strength to keep going. Solutions, ideas, you can change ideas, but team is very important.”