SANTA CLARA, Calif -- Veridicom Inc. here has secured $22.3 million in a third round of funding, which the company said it will use to further develop its silicon-based fingerprint authentication technology.
Veridicom, a spin-off from Lucent Technologies Inc., hopes to widely market OpenTouch, a system of hardware and software modules that replaces passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) by using fingerprint templates for authentication (see May 21, 1997 story).
Led by Deutsche Bank, several new investors participated in Veridicom's third round of funding, including CSK/SEGA, General Electric Investment Corp., GEO Capital, SEIKO Instruments, and Venture Partners of Switzerland. Veridicom's current investors -- Allegro Capital, AT&T Ventures, Hambrecht & Quist, Intel, Lucent Technologies, and U.S. Venture Partners -- also participated.
"We are very pleased with this latest round of financing and especially with the continued funding from our initial investors and endorsements from our newest backers," said Michael D'Amour, CEO of Veridicom. "Our investors recognize that Veridicom helps enable secure e-commerce, data privacy, and security for the burgeoning marketplace. These investments along with the market acceptance for our solutions have helped to propel the company's success and performance to date."
Veridicom is one of several companies pursuing fingerprint-sensing biometric chips, including Harris Semiconductor spinoff Authentec Inc. and France's Thomson-CSF. Siemens Semiconductor also talked about developing a fingerprint chip last year before it spun off as Infineon Technologies AG.
The market for e-commerce is expected to top $1.3 trillion by 2003, according to analysts' estimates, said Naeem Zafar, Veridicom's vice president of marketing. "Global enterprises vying to take advantage of this rapid growth have realized that authentication has become mission-critical for their corporate intranets.
Veridicom's solid-state sensor approach makes it possible for fingerprint technology to be a small, cost-effective technology for everyday use. PC users control the authentication process. Silicon technology will also allow a host of expanded functions to be incorporated into the sensor in the future, including analog-to-digital converters and on-board microprocessors, at very low incremental cost and with no increase in chip size.