Wearable Tech World Feature Article
September 29, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: Bionym Raises $14M for ECG-Based Wireless Authenticator Wristband

Bionym, a Toronto-based wearable technology startup, has acquired $14M in funding after a successful Series A round. Bionym’s flagship product, the Nymi, aims to be a wearable, wireless replacement for passwords, PINs and keys, using the user’s own ECG as the authentication device.

The company announced on its blog that invested companies include: Ignition Partners, Relay Venture, Mastercard, Export Development Canada, and Salesforce Ventures. Andrew D’Souza, president of Bionym, applauded the involvement of MasterCard and Salesforce specifically, saying the companies had “...demonstrated a real commitment to our company and building on the Nymi platform.” The commitment of industry staples like MasterCard reflects the growing interest in both wearable technology and biometric authorization among consumers.

The Nymi uses an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor to determine the identity of the wearer. An ECG is a representation of the electrical activity that occurs during each heartbeat and is unique to each individual, much like a fingerprint. Once the wearer is authenticated, the Nymi can be used to unlock everything from cars to smartphones to website accounts for as long as it is worn. The Nymi deactivates once it is taken off, ensuring the security of the user’s identity.

The funding is being used to expand Bionym’s manufacturing capabilities as demand increases for the yet-to-be-released Nymi. There have been over 8000 pre-orders for the device, which is slated to be released this fall. A Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Nymi was released last month allowing companies and individuals to enable Nymi authentication for their services.

As devices like the Nymi become more commonplace, the days of having to verify your identity manually through passwords and PINs may soon be behind us. Biometric authentication through fingerprint scans or the Nymi’s ECG sensor, offer a more robust level of security than was available before. Bionym and its investors are betting that today’s generation of privacy and security-minded consumers will appreciate the added level of security, in addition to the fact that they may never have to fumble for their keys again.

Image courtesy of Bionym

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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