5. Yoti – Robin Tombs

Robin Tombs

Company: Yoti

Founder: Robin Tombs

Website: https://www.yoti.com/

Business: Yoti is an age verification technology that allows people to prove their age using just a selfie.


About Robin and Yoti

Yoti was founded in 2014 with the goal of making a range of tools to allow people to prove their age without using ID. The aim was to allow people to prove that they were the correct age to purchase a product, or to access a service, without handing over their personal information.

Robin believed that sharing ID documents online puts people’s privacy and personal information at risk. This is why he built Yoti, which enables people to verify their age using Yoti’s facial age estimation technology. This technology is an effective and secure way of checking someone’s age using just a selfie. 

Yoti’s uses also span beyond just selling age-restricted products. Businesses can learn a client’s age in order to create age-appropriate experiences. Businesses can prevent children from stumbling across explicit or inappropriate content. Social media websites can also stop adults from lying about their age to groom children, thus creating safe experiences for children and allowing them to thrive online.




Yoti’s facial age estimation is a privacy preserving solution, that never knows or learns the name or identity of a person. There is no need for an ID document and no personal data is held or shared. It simply estimates someone’s age from an image; as soon as the age is estimated the image is deleted.

To the technology, the images are patterns of pixels, and the pixels are numbers. The AI is designed to spot patterns in numbers, so it learns ‘this pattern is what 16 year olds usually look like’. It never cross-checks people against a database of faces; it simply estimates the age of the photo presented to it.

To date, Yoti have performed over 550 million age checks. The technology has been trialled by major UK supermarkets including Asda, Aldi and the Coop, to make it easier and quicker for shoppers to prove their age at self-checkouts.

The technology is being used by Instagram to help verify the age of users when someone attempts to change their date of birth from under the age of 18, to 18 or over. This is to help provide age appropriate experiences on the platform. This was first launched in the US and is now available in the UK, EU, Brazil and India.

Social network Yubo is using the technology to provide a safer platform and safeguard its users. The new age verification system reduces the risks of child abuse and other such acts by preventing users who might misrepresent their age for ill intent from joining Yubo.

Yoti plans to continue to work with brands around the world to create age-appropriate and safer experiences.


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