Biometrics stocks update: Zwipe explores new listing, Ambarella earnings, Megvii IPO
Biometrics companies which are publicly traded or planning to soon be are experiencing the uncertainty of the developing smart cards market, geopolitics and AI ethics, with a series of recent announcements.
Zwipe to explore new listing
Zwipe has announced it will explore the possibility of being listed on Nasdaq Stockholm’s First North Growth Market to capitalize on new opportunities generated by the impending commercialization of biometric smart cards. In the first half of 2019, the company reported revenues of NOK 348,000 (U.S.$38,000), down from NOK 677,000 ($74,000) in the first half of 2018, reflecting the pre-commercial stage of its business.
According to Zwipe CEO André Løvestam, “the past several months has seen major stakeholders in the emerging biometric payment market invest in preparations for commercialization of biometric payment cards and accompanying offerings. This vote of confidence and positive outlook has enabled several new strategic opportunities for Zwipe that are currently being pursued. On this basis, the Board of Directors has concluded an intent to list on Nasdaq Stockholm’s First North Growth Market.”
Løvestam also says that listing on the market will bring the company closer to the majority of its investors and open up market for its shares that he says is larger and more dynamic.
Zwipe’s investment in strategic capabilities led to an after-tax net loss of NOK 36,329 (roughly $4,000), similar to the first half of 2018. The company also raised NOK 120 million at the beginning of the year, just before it became listed in the Oslo Stock Exchange’s Merkur Market. Following the listing, Zwipe has been partnering with manufacturers and other technology companies to position itself for biometric smart card commercialization.
Ambarella beats estimates
Camera chip maker Ambarella has announced revenue and earnings higher than market estimates for its Q2 2020 fiscal period ending July 31, 2019, as recovering demand from HikVision and Dahua drove the company’s strong performance. Ambarella reports quarterly earnings of $56.4 million, down 9.7 percent from a year earlier, and a GAAP net loss of $10.2 million.
Following the announcement, Yahoo Finance reports that KeyBanc Capital Markets raised its revenue estimates for Ambarella. Analyst John Vinh says inventory-building to prepare for the effects of a ban on certain kinds of interactions in the U.S. sparked demand for the company.
In the meantime, Ambarella is moving further into the market for computer vision chips for the automotive market.
“While still early days, auto represents half of the 40 pre-production customers with broad-based applications,” Vinh says. “Given the longer design cycle, meaningful Auto CV revenues are expected by 2022-2023, while current auto growth is largely driven by video recorder ramps.”
KeyBanc raised its estimate for Ambarella’s full-year 2020 revenue to a range of $206 million to $225 million.
Megvii stumbles ahead of IPO
Megvii was not concerned enough with unrest in Hong Kong to delay its IPO preperations, according to recent reports, but the company is now facing criticism for a viral photo depicting the company’s facial recognition-powered classroom monitoring solution analyzing student behavior. The technology can track how often student behaviors from raising their hands, to appearing to pay attention.
Author and film blogger Chu Hanchen warned the company on Weibo that “(i)f someone wants to control, kill, or take away hundreds of millions of teens’ feelings, the company —no matter how advanced its technology — will never be acknowledged by history.”
His comments were reposted to popular academic and science media platform Intellectuals. The company responded with a Weibo statement its products for the education sector are meant for campus safety.
Megvii recently made a commitment to prevent the weaponization of AI for mass surveillance.