SimplifIDe may change the way employers and their workers protect data.
SimplifIDe, a year-old startup, uses unique physical markers that differentiate all humans in lieu of traditional identification. These biometrics include things like faces, voices, fingerprints and even the iris of the eye.
“Biometrics–that is what truly identifies you and verifies your identity,” CEO Jeff McAllister tells WisBusiness.com. “In our solution, you are the password.”
The plan to start the Madison-based company arose from what he calls “a perfect storm taking place” for this kind of identification. He pointed to a “plethora” of data fraud, including big data hacks on larger companies, plus identity fraud, as the impetus for companies wanting to improve security.
SimplifIDe is responding to an urgent need in the marketplace, said McAllister. A survey conducted this past summer by TeleSign, Inc. shows 70 percent of online businesses want to eliminate traditional usernames and passwords.
“The idea really came from stepping back and taking a look at what the process is currently for adding biometric identification,” said McAllister. “When we saw how complex it was, we thought that this is very similar to other companies who didn’t have to recreate the wheel. They took different pieces that were already there, they glued them together in a unique way, and they changed the market.”
He points to companies like Uber and Amazon as examples of winning ideas that didn’t need to start from the ground up.
“Uber didn’t invent the phone. Uber didn’t invent the taxi. Uber just created the software and a different business model that glued those pieces together. Amazon didn’t create the book, or the movie, or anything else they sell, and they didn’t create the internet,” said McAllister. “They put it together, and found a new way of doing business.”
SimplifIDe’s way of replicating this success lies in its quick and easy process of setting up the system for any kind of business, McAllister said, adding they “eliminate cost by doing the work up front.”
The company follows the software as a service (SaaS) model, and is “device-agnostic”–that is, it works on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
SimplifIDe has signed its first customer contract, but hasn’t officially launched its platform for the company yet. McAllister said the firm currently is working with this Madison-based client on building the system, and is “very excited about it.”
The company was incorporated about a year ago and currently employs under 10 people, but McAllister stressed the importance of growth through hiring the best people for the job.
“We know it’s a very competitive market for really good tech people in the Madison market, and we are looking for security engineers and developers,” said McAllister. “We want to double our size within the next year.”
The company added former Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and former Wisconsin CIO Matthew Miszewski to its board of directors in November, bringing expertise in law, software and information technology to the company.
“They both add a lot of value to our board,” said McAllister. “When your board is made up of the officers of the company, the employees of the company, the founders of the company, it’s good to have your outside directors bring a different viewpoint and different experience.”
Growth through hiring is only one way the company is expanding, as he emphasized upcoming system improvements as well. SimplifIDe currently only has face and voice identification, but is working on adding fingerprint and iris identification to its offerings.
“Any new algorithm or new modality is an easy plug-in for us,” said McAllister. “Taking the solution to the market is the phase we are in right now.”
SimplifIDe has two contracts being drafted for companies in Europe. It completed a seed round of funding for $1 million dollars this past summer, and launched its second round seeking two million on Dec. 2.
–By Alex Moe