Keyless, 3 million for the startup winner of Open-F@b Call4Ideas 2020

Founded in 2019 by London-based Italians and winner of a contest by BNP Paribas Cardif and InsuranceUp, Keyless has developed a technology for biometric recognition using device cameras. P101, Primomiglio SGR, Inventures Investment Partners and Gumi Cryptos Capital are all taking part in the round

Published on 26 May 2021

Keyless, a platform for biometric recognition and identity management winner of Open-F@b Call4Ideas 2020, closes a $3 million investment round led by Venture Capital manager P101 SGR, through its second vehicle P102 and ITALIA 500 (venture capital fund established by Azimut Libera Impresa asset management company and managed under mandate by P101). Italian and international investors such as Primomiglio SGRInventures Investment Partners and Gumi Cryptos Capital also played a part in the deal. 

The round brings the total raised by the startup in just over two years to reach $9.2 million.

Keyless, the startup using cameras for authentication 

Founded in January 2019 in London by Andrea Carmignani, Fabian Eberle, Giuseppe Ateniese and Paolo Gasti, Keyless is a cybersecurity company developing a unique technology to enable biometric recognition of bank and enterprise employees, who will then be able to access their accounts passwordless, safely, using any device with a camera. 

“When used correctly, biometric authentication solutions can help simplify the login experience while protecting millions of users from fraud and identity theft.” said Andrea Carmignani, CEO, “We have developed a smart solution that not only can eliminate scams, phishing and account theft threats, yet still manage to keep sensitive biometric information from being lost, stolen or mishandled.” 

Current market solutions store highly sensitive data directly on the user’s device. Keyless has developed a technology that allows the biometric data (facial features and behavior) of each user to be stored in a network of distributed clouds, rather than on individual devices or centralized servers, in total security, because it is encrypted using “zero-knowledge” and “secure multi-party computation” techniques – so it cannot be traced back to the identity of users and is in line with GDPR regulations. The company’s patented technology therefore enables it to offer password-free multi-factor authentication solutions for corporate employees, and strong customer authentication for bank and fintech customers. 

Biometrics for cybersecurity, a burgeoning market 

Keyless has experienced strong growth in the last year, with a turnover of $250,000 that has allowed the company to expand its team and develop new cutting-edge technologies that will be implemented to the current ones. This development is in line with the growth trend of the cybersecurity market and in particular biometrics applied to cybersecurity, which is estimated to be worth $59 billion globally by 2025 (CB Insights data), with a growth rate of +13.6% between 2020 and 2027 (source Data Bridge). 

The market is being driven by the growing adoption of mobile devices to execute financial transactions, which will drive 60% of multinationals and 90% of midsize companies to implement passwordless authentication methods by 2022 (Gartner). 

Furthermore, according to the latest Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon Business, in 2020 the majority of hacking attacks (around 80%) were caused by credential theft incidents. Specifically, during the pandemic, reports of identity theft doubled, while in terms of phising activity, Google reported a 27% increase in known sites and attacks of this type accounted for 80% of security-related incidents. 

Keyless, how the funding will be used 

The funds raised in this new funding round will be allocated to the enhancement of research and development related to the theme of privacy and biometric authentication solutions, in particular with the introduction of behavioral biometrics, which will complement facial biometrics. Moreover, the startup intends to accelerate its go-to-market strategy in order to aim at international expansion, also thanks to the introduction of new partnerships with IAM (Identity and Access Management) providers in Europe, such as those already made over the last 12 months with Microsoft, OneLogin, Auth0 and FIDO Alliance. 

In particular, thanks to the agreement with Microsoft Azure AD B2C, the platform’s B2C customers will be able to take advantage of the first passwordless authentication using facial biometrics, in compliance with PSD2 and GDPR guidelines. 

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