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Token picks up $1.75M in New York state funding


Wearable technology start-up Token is receiving a $1.75 million investment from Empire State Development through its New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund.

The company has developed a ring embedded with an ultra-compact fingerprint sensor and an optical proximity sensor that can be used for payments, access and several other applications. Its companion software platform allows the ring to be integrated into various identity applications, including computer logins, mobile payments, transit cards, and smart locks for home and auto.

Token is based in Rochester, New York, where it manufactures the biometric, encrypted, wearable device at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Venture Creations incubator. Company co-founders Melanie and Steve Shapiro are RIT alumni.

Token says it remains committed to growing in Rochester, creating technology jobs, and helping grow the local technology ecosystem. Other investors in the project include Neo, Blockchange Ventures and many of the company’s original seed investors. Hadi Partovi, CEO and founder of Code.org, is both an investor and advisor.

“New York Ventures is a crucial partner for Token as we continue to drive public support for digital IDs,” commented Token CEO and co-founder Melanie Shapiro. “We plan to continue to support local manufacturing and business in Rochester, where we are based, because we believe in nurturing the local community, as a community ethos is at the core of our values. New York Ventures will help us do just that through their support of Token and continued support in investing in the state’s innovation ecosystem.”

New York Ventures provides funding to high-growth startups as they move from concept to commercialization, through early growth and expansion. It administers the state’s innovation investment funds, providing equity investment capital to early-stage technology-based businesses through direct investments and fund-of-funds ranging from companies emerging from New York State universities, research labs, incubators and accelerators to companies willing to relocate to New York.

“The NYS Innovation Venture Capital Fund targets strategic industries that support advanced manufacturing endeavors statewide,” explained Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “Investing in companies like these supports the state’s innovation economy and provides support for further development of Token’s cutting-edge security products.”

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