With advances in public-key cryptography, biometric authentication and machine intelligence, the startup Passbase aims to improve privacy and security online by building a full-stack identity solution.
Founded in 2018, and just six months after raising its pre-seed round of €530k, the Berlin-based startup has raised another €3.3 million. The round was led by Cowboy Ventures & Eniac Ventures, with participation from Seedcamp and other European investors.
Passbase’s technology helps businesses confirm the identity of their users with a quick video selfie and identity document scan. Passbase claims this software can be integrated within a few minutes using their self-service developer platform, in sharp contrast to the long sales cycles and complex integrations of legacy providers. Don’t let the simplicity fool you. The seemingly simple product is deeply rooted in several serious security technologies.
With NIST-certified facial recognition, forensic ID authenticity analysis, and a patent-pending zero-knowledge sharing architecture, Passbase is positioning itself as the privacy-preserving approach to online identity. As more regulations emerge, Passbase’s ability to confirm an individual’s identity and retain the audit history without sharing extraneous personal details may become a pivotal edge.
“Thousands of companies have aggregated sensitive user data, which they have not been able to secure,” said Mathias Klenk, Passbase co-founder. “Every business is vulnerable – from ambitious small ventures to tech giants like Google and Facebook. This is says why the only real solution is a more distributed security architecture that engages an end-user’s consent. That is why we are building Passbase. For businesses and their consumers together.”
Today, online identities are built upon a combination of usernames, passwords, devices, social security numbers, and the occasional personal factoid like mother’s maiden name.
These knowledge-based systems are extremely common, but in recent years their effectiveness has come into question. $3.4 billion of fraud can be traced to accounts created with stolen identity information in 2018 alone (+13% since 2017), and the rate of account-take-overs nearly doubled over the same period. Passbase aims to reverse this trend by giving businesses the tools they need to be confident in the identity of their users by recognizing stolen information upfront and exposing fewer user data in the process.
“In the digital world we now need to identify everyone from our delivery drivers to our babysitters,” said Ted Way, partner at Cowboy Ventures Partner. “The old paradigm of relying on a username and password to verify someone’s identity just isn’t sufficient.”
Passbase helps companies to solve this issue with a technology architecture designed that will make it easier for companies to securely store information and comply with current and future regulations.
With the latest round of funding, the company plans to bolster their existing identity verification product, launch a biometric-based reauthentication tool, and expand their teams in New York and Berlin. Looking to the future, the team has plans to challenge the fast-growing identity access management market, estimated to be valued $24.12 billion by 2025, with their more privacy-driven, unbiased approach to verified identities.
“Our aim is to make this technology accessible and privacy-conscious,” said Passbase co-founder Dave McGibbon. “So that the next generation of innovators can build amazing businesses without compromising individual privacy or security. The new economy is built on the idea that you can trust people you’ve only met online. Identity-based security is critical to making this happen.”