Funding is out there for biometrics, to meet diverse but specific needs
Investments in biometrics and technologies supporting digital identity made up several of the most widely-read stories of the week on Biometric Update. The Gates Foundation is recommitting to digital public infrastructure and the U.S. DoD is contracting Ideal Innovations to manage a biometrics collection program. Signzy and iiDENTIFii raise funds, a consultant shared tips on attracting VC interest at Innovatrics’ annual event, and Pangiam is set to expand its team in America.
Top biometrics news of the week
The Gates Foundation is doubling down on its support for digital identity, with $200 million of a recent funding tranche committed for improving digital public infrastructure. The funding announcement accompanies the latest ‘Goalkeepers Report,’ which warns that faster progress is needed on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Officials with Uganda’s identity authority said during the latest episode of the ID16.9 podcast that their agency observed International Identity Day with a public outreach in local media and a Kampala town square. NIRA is planning a mass registration campaign targeting those previously excluded from legal and digital ID.
The UK’s trials of biometric self-enrollment solutions in the form of kiosks and apps have reached their next phase with a request for providers to express their interest in having smartphone-based technology tested. The JSRC published a study examining the first phase of testing, and the EAB holds a Lunch Talk next week with a Home Office official to explain the trials and future plans.
Authorities in Iran are using facial recognition to monitor adherence to edicts about how women dress amidst protests over state violence and a brutal crackdown by the regime. The technology used to crush dissent in this case, not just the policy, appears to be supplied from China.
EU Parliament is still going through the lengthy process of establishing regulations for AI, and the political tide may be changing as it does so. A shift in the position of one of the Parliament’s largest groups appears to create a majority in favor of a ban on the use of surveillance technology built with AI in public spaces.
PaybyFace CEO Mihai Draghici said in an email interview with Biometric Update that the company’s expansion of face biometric retail payments beyond Europe targets markets that are ready to integrate cashless technologies at the point of sale. The launches in South Africa, India, the UAE and U.S. will help the company better understand how to scale worldwide, he says.
A consultant told an audience at Innovatrics’ BioCon 2022 that investors are more concerned with the quality of a biometrics startup’s founders and how well they understand its customers’ needs than how innovative or even reliable its technology is. The presentation by Unicorn Attacks’ Vít Šubert sought to dispel several myths around how venture capital picks companies to support.
A multimodal biometrics contract with the U.S. Department of Defense worth $63 million has been won by Ideal Innovations, Inc. I3 confirmed to Biometric Update that the contract, which comes with four option years, will support the collection of face, fingerprint and iris biometrics.
Pangiam is set to hire hundreds of people in Virginia over the next three years, substantially increasing its U.S. footprint, while Trulioo is cutting staff as it refines it focus towards providing identity verification for medium and large businesses. BioCatch and iProov have hired new marketing executives, and Simprints is looking for help on communications strategy.
Financial institutions and other organizations are moving towards more unified identity systems with MFA, Mitek Vice President of Product Chris Briggs tells Biometric Update in a feature interview, but slowly. Legacy IT backbones have held up the process, prompting biometrics providers like Mitek to develop easier ways for customers to integrate or consume their technologies.
Laxton is rebranding, dropping ‘Group’ from its name and launching a new, redesigned website. The company is now using the tagline “Empowering Citizens. Advancing Nations.”
Signzy and iiDENTIFii each made funding announcements this week. Signzy picked up approximately US$26 million in a series B funding round while iiDENTIFii secured just over US$15 million in a series A round.
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