OwnID is looking to expand after bringing in $6.2 million in seed funding. The company currently has roughly 20 employees, and wants to double that number in the next year using the seed money obtained in a round led by Mayfield.
The OwnID solution uses smartphone biometrics to enable passwordless authentication. The platform focuses on logins rather than onboarding, and is delivered through an API that clients can use to add OwnID to their own websites and applications.
The actual registration process is carried out on the user’s smartphone, and generates a cryptographic key that is stored locally on that device. When they try to log into a website that supports OwnID, users will first be asked to enter their email, and will then be given the option of using OwnID rather than a password. They will then move to their phone to complete the login using their device’s built-in face or fingerprint recognition sensor. If the new scan matches the cryptographic key, OwnID will confirm the match and allow the login to proceed.
According to OwnID’s founders, the system is virtually impossible to spoof because the key is stored on the user’s device, thereby turning the device into a second, possession-based authentication factor that supplements the primary biometric one. Since the match is also carried out on the phone itself, OwnID can make it easier to log into the same account across multiple devices.
In that regard, the company believes that its solution will be particularly useful when people are logging into Netflix or some other app on a TV. In those cases, OwnID will display a QR code on the screen that users can scan to transfer the login to their phone.
The founders of OwnID have a prior history in the identity space as the founders of Gigya, where they commissioned a poll that measured the public’s dissatisfaction with password-based security. They went on to found OwnID after selling Gigya to SAP in 2017 for $350 million. OwnID is already providing authentication services for Nestlé and DeLonghi, though the seed funding marks the first time that its platform has been made available to the general public.