Fingerprint Cards (FPC) was recently named 2015’s best performing stock in Europe. The fingerprint sensor company had its technology launched on dozens of smartphones over the year and already in 2016 we see no indication of this trend slowing down.
Mobile ID World president Peter O’Neill spoke with Jörgen Lantto, president and CEO of Fingerprint Cards, just as last week’s Consumer Electronics Show was about to kick off. Their conversation is about the company’s success in the mobile market, what sets Fingerprint Cards technology apart, and which sectors FPC will be focusing on in terms of expansion.
Peter O’Neill, President, Mobile ID World (MIDW): This has been quite a year for your company, recently FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World posted an article about the fact that Fingerprint Cards was the best performing stock in all of Europe. Please tell us about your year?
Jörgen Lantto, President and CEO, Fingerprint Cards (FPC): By all measures it has been a great year for our company. Our performance during 2015 has been very, very good. We have grown our revenues by more than 1,000 percent in the year. We have launched more than 50 phones in the market together with our customers, the phone vendors. So, performance has been absolutely great.
MIDW: What would you say are some of the main drivers that are pushing our industry?
FPC: Well, I think mainly the consumers have recognized the benefits of the secure and convenient means of verifying yourself using biometry and fingerprint sensors, so that has been the main driver for the growth in our industry. On our side we have had to meet the demands from the market with the right product at the right time.
MIDW: You say “the right product”—why is your product so successful?
FPC: I think it simply goes down to the fact that our sensors perform and function better than all of our competitors. That is something that our customers recognize when they compare our sensors with the competition. It allows our customers to have a great user experience on their devices and at the end of the day that is what matters for the consumer—a great user experience.
MIDW: Now you mentioned that you had a very successful year and that you have had many successful sales, I think you mentioned 50, is there room for more growth? What can we expect to see from Fingerprint Cards in 2016?
FPC: Yes so we have actually shared our growth plans for 2016 and we did that almost a month ago. For 2015 our revenue guidance of the market is between 2.75 to 2.85 billion SEK. We estimate the revenues for 2016 to be 6.5 to 8.5 billion SEK and that amounts to growth from 130-200% compared to the 2015 revenues.
MIDW: Now, Jörgen, is that growth mostly from supplying more sensors to your existing relationships that you have established or is it with new clients?
FPC: Most growth will come from servicing our existing customers. Then there are new customers that we hope to win during the year; some of them we have already started to engage with because as you know it takes 6-9 months to develop the phone so we have good visibility of the launch plans from our customers throughout most of 2016. So there are new customers that we are engaging with as we speak now, who will launch phones in 2016 but the majority of the growth will come from servicing our existing customers.
MIDW: At FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World we report on many different vertical markets besides mobile. When you look at all of the varying verticals markets, which ones of those excite you the most? I noticed we wrote an article recently about you and the automotive sector for example.
FPC: Yes, well, automotive is a new development that we actually disclosed to the market yesterday and we have started to engage with the car manufacturers in developing solutions for automotive. That will not generate substantial revenues during 2016, but we expect to see demonstrations together with our partners on how fingerprint technology can be embedded in automotive applications during 2016. So I think in terms of real market penetration and applications that will really involve the consumer in 2016 as part of the new segments will be the launch of a smart cards with fingerprint sensors.
MIDW: Now you are in Vegas at the CES show right now, what are you seeing there?
FPC: I just joined a launch from our biggest customer Huawei Technologies… and they launched new devices today. Actually Lenovo also announced a new phone with our fingerprint sensors this week. On average since the fall we have had about 2 new phones launched every week.
MIDW: It is such a competitive environment out there. We are also reporting a lot on the Internet of Things, do you see that as a growth area for your company?
FPC: Yes, absolutely. I think that will be a very compelling opportunity to act upon in the coming years. There will be billions of various types of devices that are going to be connected to the Internet and many of these will simply not have an input output device but when you embed the fingerprint sensor in these devices then it will recognize the person that touches the device for whatever purpose. With that will come the security of knowing who touched the device, and then also making that device attached to you as a person. So with the Internet of Things it could very well become at the end of the day the most important new application for fingerprint sensor technology.
MIDW: I know you have been around biometrics for quite some time, as we have too, and it was interesting at the latest FinTech show Money 20/20 in Vegas in November where there were over 650 people that attended my panel discussion on biometrics—Totally unheard of. It is definitely a sign that vertical markets are interested in biometrics and want to know more. So, we are also excited about the future.
FPC: Yes, I heard about what happened at that show in Vegas and the impact biometrics had there. Quite staggering!
MIDW: Congratulations on your spectacular year and we look forward to hearing more about your company in the future.
FPC: It has been my pleasure to speak with you today Peter. Thank you very much. I look forward to seeing you at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.