Passage Secures $4 Million in Funding for Password App That Allows Access to Websites Using Facial Recognition or Fingerprints

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A year ago, Anna Pobletts and Cole Hecht came up with the idea for Passage, a passwordless authentication service for a website using biometrics.

They were both working at an Austin-based cybersecurity company when they decided to start their own business. This week, Passage emerged from stealth operations and launched its beta, and announced $4 million in seed funding led by LiveOak Venture Partners with participation from Next Coast Ventures, Tau Ventures, Secure Octane and various investors. providentials.

Today, everything online requires a password, from airline reservations to banking apps, subscription services and retail sites.

The problem is that consumers often use the same password on multiple sites, which increases their vulnerability to hackers.

The problem of cybercrime is huge and growing. Cybersecurity Ventures expects the global costs of cybercrime to rise 15% per year over the next five years, reaching US$10.5 trillion per year by 2025, rising

of 3,000 billion dollars in 2015.

“We want the internet to be safer,” said Hecht, co-founder and CEO of Passage.

Passage’s solution relies on biometrics, face and fingerprint authentication to access online websites, Hecht said.

“It’s a unique moment,” Hecht said. Today, more and more people are familiar with biometrics as they have smartphones and computers that rely on facial recognition or fingerprints to access devices.

“We have great biometric devices in our pockets,” he said. Passage has created an application that allows web developers to integrate this technology into websites. Passage lets users log into web apps with Face ID, Touch ID, Windows Hello, and other biometrics built into their devices.

Compared to other forms of user authentication, biometrics provide improved security and a smoother login experience for users, said Pobletts, co-founder and chief technology officer of Passage.

For example, many consumers will abandon an online shopping cart when checking out because they forgot their password. Passage’s system enables easy authentication through biometrics and enables businesses to reduce cart abandonment, user churn and password-related support costs, Pobletts said. Biometrics also eliminate phishing and account takeover attacks and reduce the risk of breaches when companies store and manage passwords, she said.

With the new funding, Passage plans to introduce its app to more developers and also plans to hire more employees, Hecht said. The company has 5 full-time employees and they work out of an office in WeWork University Park.

“Consumers are getting really comfortable with the use of biometrics on mobile devices,” Hecht said. Biometric identification only exists on the smartphone or laptop that the person uses to access the website.

“It’s only tied to the device,” Hecht said.

Passage empowers developers with a few lines of code to allow their users to register and log in to websites with just their face or fingerprint, Hecht said.

“Passage is poised to fundamentally change the way we interact with the web,” LiveOak Venture Partners partner Creighton Hicks said in a press release. “Imagine a world where you seamlessly sign up, log in and pay online, no matter what device you’re on, without having to remember or search for your password.”

Passage is excited to lead the way for developers wanting to implement better authentication for their users, Pobletts said.

In the next few years, biometric authentication will become commonplace online, Hecht said.

“Passage makes passwordless biometric authentication accessible to all developers and makes the WebAuthn open-source standard easy to integrate into any environment,” Chris Aniszczyk, CTO, Linux Foundation, said in a statement. “Improving security practices should be a priority for everyone, and I strongly encourage all developers to support passwordless authentication in their applications.”

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