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CEO reaffirms ethical commitments as Kairos secures $4 million and adds new chairman


Kairos has secured a $4 million investment from Domus Semo Sancus (DSS) Chairman and CEO E. Jay Saunders, who has also joined the company as Executive Chairman of the Board. Interim CEO Melissa Doval has also had the “interim” tag removed, referring to herself in an interview with Biometric Update as “the CEO who kept the lights on.”

The new investment brings the company’s total funding to $17 million, and follows a bridge financing deal for $500,000 that allowed the company to function through January. CEO Melissa Doval told Biometric Update that open communication between Kairos and its investors led to the company’s leadership and Sanders being introduced, and a shared vision for the company enticed him to take a leadership role in it. DSS is a regulation technology company based in the Turks & Caicos.

“With my background and my experience in overseeing infrastructure growth and corporate growth and his success in digital with DSS, I think he and I together have a great understanding of the capabilities that Kairos has as a company,” Doval says.

“Working with teams I trust at companies I believe in, is incredibly important to me, and Mel’s unwavering leadership of Kairos is the perfect example,” says Saunders in the announcement. “The startup’s enduring dedication to both innovation and ethics in technology makes the Miami business community proud and drives the city’s tech sector forward.”

Doval is a Miami native, and was appointed CFO for Miami-based Kairos in June 2018, just months before she replaced Founder and CEO Brian Brackeen. Prior to joining Kairos, Doval served as CFO of business software company The Recon Group.

Building revenue is the top priority for Kairos in 2019, which Doval believes will make it more attractive to future investors. The company has recorded double-digit growth in sign-ups for its cloud API over the past three months, she says, and going forward it will continue to productize its technology.

“In the past Kairos was more of a developer tool, like a cog in the engine,” Doval points out. “I think moving forward we’re trying to create solutions that are going to add more value and not necessarily just be a cog, but be a whole front-end facing solution that folks are going to be able to implement into their workflows, which for us is very promising.”

Doval says Kairos plans to package its facial recognition technology for KYC onboarding, leveraging Saunders’ background and experience. The company plans to roll out the new product in the next 12 months, with an initial focus on the dating and online gambling markets.

“Kairos is forging the way forward on how biometric identity is going to merge into the social economy.”

The company plans to develop a product road map to deliver new products and ideas over the next 12 to 36 months, according to Doval.

“You’re going to see a lot of great news coming out of Kairos. Some strategic partnerships, some customers with fantastic use cases, and I think the story about Kairos will change going forward.”

Kairos is currently embroiled in lawsuits as plaintiff and defendant with Brackeen, who alleges the company was seized from him in a corporate coup, and that he faced pressure to change his position against selling its technology to law enforcement. Doval tells Biometric Update Kairos has no plans to change its position, and hints that the company may soon release new benchmarks relating to its efforts to reduce algorithmic bias.

“We continue to be an ethical company and the racial bias in AI is still something that concerns us and that we’re looking into and constantly improving our model on,” Doval says. “That essentially has not changed.”

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