A start-up created by students at the University of Oxford has been sold, marking the university's highest value return on investment on a student-led start-up.

Onfido uses artificial intelligence to verify customer identities and has been sold to Entrust Corp, a global leader in trusted payments, identities, and data security.

The sale is set to fund the creation of more companies and entrepreneurship programmes at the university.

Onfido was one of the first entrants into Oxford University Innovation’s Incubator in 2012, an entrepreneurship programme that fostered the technology developed by student founders Husayn Kassai, Eamon Jubbawy, and Ruhul Amin.

Herald Series: Onfido’s co-founders (L-R) Eamon Jubbawy, Ruhul Amin and Husayn KassaiOnfido’s co-founders (L-R) Eamon Jubbawy, Ruhul Amin and Husayn Kassai (Image: Oxford University)

While studying at Saïd Business School in 2013, the team received £20,000 in early phase funding through the Entrepreneurship Centre's Oxford Seed Fund.

The sale of Onfido represents an 80 times return on the Oxford Seed Fund Investment.

Mr Kassai, co-founder and former CEO at Onfido, said: "In 2012, at 22-years-old, building a new way to verify identities online felt like a moonshot.

"Having support from Oxford Innovation's first incubator provided a crucial launchpad - not only for the company but for our confidence.

"Oxford’s leap of faith into a nascent idea, was rocket fuel and I am incredibly grateful to Oxford University and the entire ecosystem for supporting our journey."

The Onfido team has spent the past 12 years developing a cloud-based, artificial intelligence-powered identity verification technology.

This system is used by millions to access digital services every week – from established institutions to start-ups across multiple sectors.

Professor Chas Bountra, pro-vice chancellor for Innovation at the University of Oxford, said: "Onfido has grown from a student start-up into a 500-strong team with more than £140 million of revenue and customers worldwide.

"With its acquisition by Entrust, Onfido has shown that student-led companies can become phenomenally successful, inspiring a new generation of students, staff, and investors to cultivate our world-class innovation ecosystem in Oxford."

Mairi Gibbs, CEO of Oxford University Innovation, said: "We are proud to have supported the Onfido team through Oxford’s earliest Incubator programme.

"The return received by Oxford University Innovation will be reinvested in our Incubator programme to provide more opportunities for our student and staff entrepreneurs."

Dean of the Saïd Business School, Soumitra Dutta, added: "It is impressive to see how a modest investment from the Oxford Seed Fund has helped to catapult an idea from student start-up to a world-leading business.

"Onfido's success, and the return on our investment, will help us continue to support the most exciting start-ups and entrepreneurs from across the world."