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Anonybit Closes $3.5 Million Funding Round Led by Switch Ventures

Anonybit, the pioneer in decentralized biometrics, announced the closing of a $3.5 million funding round. The financing was led by San Francisco-based Switch Ventures. Other participants included NextGen Venture Partners, Industry Ventures, Preceptor Capital, and several strategic angel investors.

The funding will enable Anonybit to accelerate its work with embedded partners and enterprises in support of the growing need for greater data protection and enhanced digital security, a direct response to the growing threat landscape.

Founded by longtime cybersecurity executive and biometric industry veteran, Frances ZelaznyYaron Azizi, former IDF 8200 and initial platform design architect for BioCatch, the behavioral biometrics leader, and Shaked Vax, former product management and market innovation lead at Trusteer (acquired by IBM), Anonybit has developed a breakthrough decentralized biometrics infrastructure that addresses a long-standing market need for improved management of personal data and digital assets across a wide range of use cases. Given the relentless growth in identity theft and fraud, Anonybit seeks to upend the paradigm and eliminate the tradeoffs when it comes to privacy and security.

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“Fraud perpetuates and networks continue to be vulnerable because we use weak substitutes for identity in order to balance cost, friction and data privacy concerns,” said Zelazny, who will serve as Anonybit’s Chief Executive Officer. “Anonybit gets to the heart of the matter, enabling a whole new category for security that doesn’t compromise on privacy.”

“Managing identity is central to every digital interaction we have today and there is no organization that is immune to the challenge,” said Zelazny. “Anonybit provides a concrete solution for the first time giving us hope for a future with no more data breaches. Our approach secures personal data and digital assets, filling a critical need that banks, fintechs, retailers, crypto wallets, government agencies and other stakeholders have in ensuring strong authentication without maintaining central honeypots of personal data.”

The past year was tumultuous for cybersecurity, with the total number of cyberattack-related data compromises up 27% from 2020. Addressing digital security has been viewed as costly, time consuming and complicated, as evidenced by the $1.7 trillion dollars that is expected to be spent over the next 5 years on cybersecurity and identity management. On the privacy side, numerous legal frameworks have emerged to address usage and consent issues, however, very little has been done to deal with the root cause of the identity problem – central storage of personal data.

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“Every two seconds there is a new data breach victim, which only tells us that the way we are currently dealing with identity management issues is simply not working,” said Paul Arnold, Switch Ventures’ Managing Partner. “Anonybit gets to the root of the problem, giving attackers nothing to find and nothing to steal, while protecting precious data and assets. Their unique approach to solving the problem is disruptive and has the potential to change the way governments, financial services and other enterprise organizations across the world balance privacy and security going forward.”

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Anonybit splits sensitive data, like biometrics, private keys and other digital assets, into anonymized bits that are distributed throughout a vast peer-to-peer network of nodes. The system then applies multi-party computing and zero knowledge proofs in a proprietary, patented manner in order to conduct matching functions in a decentralized way.

The company offers three products:

  • Decentralized identity cloud for biometric solution and identity service providers to use with their algorithms and build privacy-preserving identity solutions;
  • Turnkey decentralized biometric authentication for enterprises and embedded partners, leveraging state of the art liveness detection, biometric matching, decentralized storage and integration into orchestration systems;
  • Digital asset vault for private keys, backup passphrases, crypto assets and more, utilizing the platform’s biometric authentication capabilities to ensure that only the authorized user has access to these assets.

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“Personal data is a hot potato; no one wants to manage it for fear of data breaches but at the same time it is needed to secure our networks, ensure the integrity of our digital interactions, provide good customer service and enable new types of customer experiences,” said Andy Walter, former CIO of Procter and Gamble and Anonybit angel investor and advisory board member. “Identity management is at the core of all this, but because of the constant tradeoffs that have to be made between privacy and security, oftentimes little progress is made. After closely assessing the Anonybit solution with industry colleagues, I became convinced that Frances and her team have come up with a unique way to address a lot of the issues that CIOs and CISOs have, making it compelling to get off the fence and solve the problem once and for all.”

In addition to Andy Walter, serving on the company’s board of advisors are John Checco, former head of innovation for Bank of America; Ret. Ambassador Robert Gelbard, formerly U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia and Bolivia, and Special Envoy to the Balkans; Bob Seeman, privacy lawyer and bitcoin expert; and Yao Huang, founder of The Hatchery, an incubator for early stage companies based in New YorkPaul Arnold, Managing Partner of Switch Ventures, and Avi Turgeman, co-founder and CEO of Ironvest and co-founder of BioCatch, VocalZoom and Tapingo, are on the Board of Directors.

Anonybit has recently announced several implementations and partnerships including Abine, powering the first decentralized password manager; FacePhi Biometria whose facial matching technology is being adapted to Anonybit’s decentralized identity cloud, allowing enterprises the ability to better secure their customer’s accounts without storing identity data on their own servers; and DropVault, where Anonybit provides users strong authentication for their B2B encrypted document sharing vault.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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