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Fast e-commerce settlement play with selfie, behavioral biometrics pulls in $51.5M

Fast e-commerce settlement play with selfie, behavioral biometrics pulls in $51.5M

A biometric and financial-security startup is offering a potential answer to how to make online sales and fend off fraudsters, both in real time. The idea enticed a $51.5 million series B round of venture funding.

The startup, Sardine, already has customers including U.S.-licensed cryptocurrency exchanges FTX and Blockchain.com.

There is momentum here. A $19.5 million series A round closed in February, and a seed round of $4.5 million closed in 2021, the year Sardine launched.

Sardine says it can provide protection for businesses using biometrics (including behavioral) along with conventional financial industry client data. It also provides Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering verification. Add to that screening for sanctioned account holders, according to financial news publisher CoinDesk. The KYC service includes liveness detection with its selfie biometrics checks.

Angela Strange, a general partner with Series B lead investor venture fund a16z, says Sardine insulates businesses from financial drains like non-sufficient fund transactions and, of course, fraud.

Strange claims the company offers “risk-free, instant settlement” on automated clearing house, or ACH, and payment cards.

The instant part will appeal to almost as many potential clients as the promised fraud-fighting claims. Some transactions can take days to clear. That is more than enough time for transactions to evaporate.

Investors have to be happy to see a veteran of exchange Coinbase on board. Sardine CEO Soups Ranjan had managed data science and risk at Coinbase, according to Strange.

The ranks also include former security staff from Zelle, the digital payment network, Uber and Japanese e-payment service firm PayPay, according to finance publisher Fortune.

Indeed, the investors in the latest round should not surprise. Among those participating are Google Ventures, Visa, ING (as in the global finance firm) Ventures, National Bank of Canada’s venture unit NAventures, ex-CEO of Citigroup Vikram Pandit and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

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