Former SureID CEO announces new biometrics solution company Q5id
Former SureID CEO Steve Larson is starting a new company together with some former team members, some two years after SureID’s bankruptcy due to losing its biggest client, the U.S. Navy, reports Oregon Live.
SureID developed identity authentication services for government agencies and the military. Although it reported $57 million in annual revenue, it relied its business on the U.S. Navy and was unable to cover debt when the client left. Prior to SureID, Larson was CEO of Unicru, which sold in 2016 for $150 million.
Under the name Q5id, Larson’s Beaverton-based startup is looking to create a solution that uses photos of people’s face, palm prints, voice recordings and physical IDs to verify identity and reduce fraud. The company believes this would a great system for the likes of banks, wireless providers, ride-hailing services and online dating apps.
“Everybody’s identity has been stolen and the fraudsters use your identity and my identity,” Larson said.
Larson will have to gain consumer trust in having access to their biometric data and personal documents, but security expert Ken Westin warns the biometric identification market is “a pretty crowded space.”
The technology it develops lets people use a smartphone to upload an image of their face, palmprints and three voice samples, as well as a form of physical identification to authenticate online activities and financial transactions.
Westin warns that storing such a high amount of personal data online could jeopardize its security and privacy, because while passwords can be updated, biometric data cannot be reset.
“You have to trust the company when you put in some of your biometrics, because that’s not something you can change,” he said.
Last year the company raised $5 million and was focused on developing the technology. With the official launch planned for 2021 and efforts now focused on signing up customers, Larson claims to be soon raising an additional $15 million from “wealthy individuals.”
Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Intel vice president Tom Kilroy are on the board of directors. Ridge was part of SureID’s board of directors, alongside two retired generals and a retired Coast Guard admiral.
Q5id currently has 35 staff members in Beaverton and has plans to grow the team to 100 this year. Larson’s son holds the title of director of operations, joining Larson from SureID, as are the company’s vice presidents. Larson hopes to leverage his previous experience and knowledge gained to build a successful company.