Toronto’s Bionym, makers of the Nymi bracelet, have raised a $14 million round of Series A funding, led by Ignition Partners and Relay Ventures. Also contributing to the round were Export Development Canada, MasterCard and Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of salesforce.com.
“We are currently ramping up our manufacturing capabilities to support consumer, partner and developer demand,” said Bionym Chief Executive Karl Martin. “This funding will help us meet our manufacturing milestones, and help us build a world-class team.”
The Nymi uses electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors to verify the wearer’s identity. That electrical activity is as unique to each individual as their fingerprint and so basically impossible to hack.
You don’t often see MasterCard contributing to start-up funding rounds, but you can imagine that financial industries would be interested in coming up with an alternative to password memorization, which remains one of the odd holdovers from Web 1.0 days.
With high-profile security breaches like iCloud’s celebrity selfie hack and Home Hardware’s massive credit card leak, the need to ditch passwords is more pressing than ever, with Bionym’s cardiac authentication leading the way.
The Nymi should also play nice with possible Internet of Things applications, allowing access your home, car and wallet without the need for keys or pin numbers.
In March, Bionym partnered with Montreal’s PasswordBox, whose software will be embedded in the Nymi bracelet when it eventually ships.
Bionym currently has 40 employees, and with 10,000 pre-orders for its Nymi bracelet, which is due to ship sometime this fall, the company is looking to expand in order to meet that demand.
“We see the Nymi as a potential game changer,” said Nick Sturiale, Managing Partner of Ignition Partners. “With the breadth and depth of third party application developer commitments, it’s clear there is tangible excitement at the numerous use cases presented by extending identity and presence from the smart phone onto the wrist.”