EyeVerify made big news Thursday, announcing a $6 million round with large backers they want in their corner: Sprint, Samsung, an undisclosed banking institution and a Chinese security firm, one of the largest in the world.
Toby Rush, CEO of the Kansas City-based eye print ID/biometric security startup said the investment was a testament to the company’s future.
EyeVerify’s software, which is developed for smartphones, uses the unique whites of a user’s eye to unlock instead of passwords or fingerprints.
Buy in from a smartphone company, a top three cell carrier, a bank and Qihoo 360 Technology, the Chinese security firm with one of the largest user bases in the world, is huge, Rush said.
“When your customer wants to pony up and stick close because you have potential, that’s powerful,” Rush told SPN.
For the long term, Rush said it’s an indication the companies want to implement EyeVerify’s patented “eye selfie” technology, whether it’s used in a Samsung smartphone or as a bank security feature.
But it was much different raising this round than the previous they had done with the Nebraska Angels and Think Big Ventures.
He said it was a mix of seeking out companies and companies coming to them.
“This was a lot more about business alignment and validation with how it was valuable to their company,” Rush said. “It proved to be more strategic.
“Once we saw who was out there and how it would come together, it made sense.”
EyeVerify has raised $10 million in total funding and was valued at nearly $40 million during the recent Series A round, the Wall Street Journal reported.
But those were good incrementally — good for visibility and awareness — but the investment from the big players is “a far bigger validation,” Rush (right) said.
With the investment, Rush said EyeVerify and its team will continue to develop the product, making it faster, better and more robust as well as marketing the software to more potential users.
The end game?
“Being successful in letting consumers live securely and conveniently,” Rush said.
The investment and strategic partnerships, he said, bodes well for the entire KC entrepreneurial community and its growing credibility as a tech player in the nation.
Read our previous coverage on Toby Rush: Journey from farmhand to founder.