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Digital identity and passkey startup Dapple raises $2.3 million in pre-seed round

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Digital identity and passkey startup Dapple raises $2.3 million in pre-seed round
 

Dapple Security, a digital identity and passwordless login startup, has raised $2.3 million in its pre-seed round. The startup leverages biometrics to replace passwords for more phishing-resistant authentication.

Dapple is offering a way for employees to replace all their passwords with a passkey. Dapple creates a digital “lock and key” from a user’s biometrics such as a fingerprint or voice. While data used for biometric authentication is often stored locally on a given device, Dapple saves the digital lock in the cloud, allowing one passkey to be used across multiple devices rather than needing to create a key on each device.

“Neither the biometric or the passkey is stored,” co-founder Gadalia Montoya Weinberg O’Bryan clarifies in a Liminal podcast. “We’re just able to reproduce it on demand.”

Dapple is designed to support cybersecurity for small and mid-sized businesses. It’s a sector that O’Bryan says is often overlooked and the most at risk of attacks due to lack of access to cybersecurity infrastructure.

Before starting the company, O’Bryan worked as a crypto mathematician for the National Security Agency from 2005 to 2013, where “a lot of the work I was doing around cryptography and biometrics… planted the seeds for the work that we’re doing now at Dapple,” she said in an interview with Colorado Inno. She also worked for a data security company Koverse.

In 2022, O’Bryan would go on to found Dapple. Since then, she has hired co-founder and CTO Keith Bucher, who she worked with in her time at Koverse. She also brought on Alie Slade as the founding engineer and head of research and development. Slade formerly worked at NSA.

Dapple participated in Techstars Boulder this summer, which provided training on sales and raising capital. Dapple raised $2.3 million, including $500,000 from an angel investor. First In, a firm that invests in military veterans and former intelligence workers, led the remaining $1.85 million in funding.

Funders who participated include other angel investors, Techstars, Access Venture Partners, Everywhere Ventures, and Ex/ante, a fund that focuses on privacy, security, and information.

Dapple’s passkey is expected to enter beta testing by the summer and commercially launch in the fall.

For small and medium sized businesses, “we’ve seen passwords become a dangerously common attack vector for breaches,” said Eric Shu, a principal at Access in comments emailed to Colorado Inno. “The approach that Gadalia and her team at Dapple are taking is unique, balancing both security and privacy. We’re privileged to have the opportunity to work with her on this important mission.”

CSO online named Dapple as a cybersecurity startup to watch in 2023. It is also a FIDO Alliance member.

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