FacePhi secures $40M to fuel biometrics market expansion, AIStorm raises $16M for edge AI
FacePhi has raised up to €33 million (US$40.1 million) in funding to back its organic and inorganic growth plans and consolidate its position in the biometrics industry over the next two years, through a pair of different investments.
Swiss firm Nice & Green, which specializes in medium and small listed companies, is contributing €20 million ($24.3 million) through Equity Warrants to be issued over two years. The Equity Warrants represent rights to shares which can be converted at the agreed-upon price, at FacePhi’s option. FacePhi also completed a similar investment agreement for €4 million ($4.9 million) including a loan portion, in September 2019.
As FacePhi has won customers for its biometric solutions, its workforce has grown from 26 employees at the end of 2019 to nearly 70 a year later.
A syndicated loan has also been arranged with Banco Santander as Sole Bookrunner Entity and financing from Caixabank, Banco de Sabadell and Deutsche Bank. The financing will be available in three tranches for 6, 5 and 2 million-euro tranches sequentially. This loan is intended to allow FacePhi to restructure all of its short-term debt, extend repayment terms and obtain a better interest rate.
“After analyzing the cost and profitability of the different financing options, we have decided to bet again on Nice & Green and on the syndicated loan since they are the most optimal tools to undertake and boost the growth of FacePhi at this particular moment,” comments FacePhi CEO Javier Mira. “These 33 million euros give us a shield in our long-term financing and flexibility in the provision of funds, since it is not mandatory to resort to the entire loan.”
Mira also says the company will grow its workforce and continue expanding internationally.
AIStorm raises $16M for biometrics and other applications at the edge
Computer hardware maker AsusTek and biometrics suppler Egis participated in the funding round, along with Knowles, Meyer Corporation and Senvest Management. Each of the first four represents a potential market area for AIStorm’s chips.
The company says it is targeting a range of applications in collaboration with its strategic partners, including facial recognition and object tracking.
AI-in-sensor chips from AIStorm use sensor data directly, without digitizing it, in contrast with ARM licensees, FPGAs, and process-in-memory solutions, according to the announcement.
“AIStorm’s approach is the only technology that allows the sensor to couple directly to popular convolutional neural networks,” explains David Schie, CEO of AIStorm. “This allows AIStorm to deliver true, template-based ‘always-on’ at the edge—at prices that deep-submicron digital competitors cannot match for the same performance. This is a winning formula in the highly competitive IoT sector.”