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UnifyID raises $20M for its authentication technology

Digital authentication startup UnifyID recently completed a $20 million Series A investment led by NEA with additional investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Stanford-StartX and Accomplice Ventures for its machine learning technology which authenticates users based on data collected from a smartphone, according to a report by Techcrunch.

UnifyID combines machine learning, behavioural biometrics, and continuous authentication by using data collected on a smartphone’s sensors (such as an accelerometer and a GPS) to build an understanding of who the user is, the person’s typical behaviors and even the cadence of how the user walks.

It then feeds this data into a machine learning back-end to process it and create a profile of each individual in the system.

UnifyID placed second at last year’s TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield in San Francisco, which would ultimately help the startup to attract investors.

At the time of the competition, the company announced a consumer-focused Chrome browser plug-in with an iOS app. It has recently changed its focus by offering a Software Development Kit (SDK) to customers to install their authentication tools as a service inside any application.

“The business model is to sell the SDK and backend platform to companies with pre-existing mobile apps and charge on a per-API call basis,” UnifyID co-founder Kurt Somerville said.

The authentication SDK works similarly to how companies can use Stripe to add payment services to an application or use Twilio for communications services.

Once the UnifyID tools are installed, a user could walk up to their computer, and it would immediately start working because the system would automatically authenticate the user based on the UnifyID information.

Once the user walks away from the computer, the system would deactivate the computer to prevent anyone else from using it.

Based on recent accuracy tests, UnifyID’s authentication technology has proven to be accurate 99.999 percent of the time.

UnifyID is working with 10 business partners on the SDK. Though it currently has 15 full time employees, the company is aiming to use part of the recent investment to grow its team to around 40 engineers in next 6-9 months.

“It’s aggressive scale and we feel we need to do it to be able to work with companies that are showing interest in our platform,” Somerville said.

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