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Keyless Technologies

Cyber 101 provided this next-gen biometric authentication company with the resources and expert community to strengthen its go-to-market strategy

Keyless biometric technology provides a secure, privacy-first, intuitive and consistent authentication experience for employees and consumers, while reducing risk and regulatory compliance for organisations.

Keyless combines multi-modal biometrics – measurement of people’s physical characteristics and in this case, a person’s face – with advanced cryptography that can identify and authenticate a genuine person across any device that has a forward-facing camera.

Using a distributed cloud architecture, Keyless technology eliminates the need to process and store data – either in a centralised database or on a device – allowing organisations to increase security, ensure compliance and protect their users.

And for the user, one simple action is required: a glance at the camera.

Keyless co-founders Fabian Eberle and Andrea Carmignani met on an MBA track at INSEAD Business School. Although the pair were in different continents, with Fabian in Singapore and Andrea based in France, they both came from a consulting background and were keen to establish a startup in the tech space.

During an internship break, the pair finally met to brainstorm ideas.

“Using biometrics, we initially wanted to build a solution that would allow people to send any digital asset, like a Bitcoin, and let the recipient receive and open the message without needing a password or a particular device. Of course, today we do something slightly different, but that was our start,” explained Fabian Eberle, COO and co-founder of Keyless.

In search of guidance, they tracked down Giuseppe Ateniese, one of the top 10 most influential privacy and security scholars. Impressed with the concept, Guiseppe introduced them to the privacy expert Paolo Gasti and, as a team, they founded Keyless.

Simple, secure, private biometric authentication.

Keyless provides zero-trust authentication solutions, including passwordless single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA) and eSignatures. The technology uses next-generation biometrics to eliminate the need to process and store data, allowing organisations to increase security, ensure compliance and protect their employees and customers.

In financial services, for example, Keyless provides strong customer authentication under the Payment Service Providers Directive (PSD2). And to reduce friction for customers, Keyless technology can be embedded in the app, so the customer simply looks into the camera to authorise the transaction.

Keyless’ solution launched in May 2020, starting the business with a large client in production and 15,000 users. At the same time, Covid-19 pushed the global workforce and consumers into lockdown, creating an upsurge in demand for improved cybersecurity and accelerating the new business.

To maintain security during lockdown, LUISS Guido Carli University partnered with Keyless and Cisco to find a solution that allowed students to pass their summer exams remotely, while ensuring only authorised students had access to the classrooms and exam sessions.

Previously, the university had encountered problems with students sharing passwords. However, local authentication using face ID did not resolve the issue, because students would enrol another person’s face on their phones, who could then log in on their behalf. The university was also concerned with privacy and was reluctant to store data.

Keyless provided a solution for the university that enabled students to continue their studies by authenticating or identifying themselves without being bound to one device, while eliminating any burden on the university to own or manage any data.

Keyless joins the Digital Catapult’s Cyber101 programme to strengthen its go-to-market strategy.

In 2020, Keyless joined Digital Catapult’s Cyber 101 programme, designed to advance the UK’s cyber security sector and the capability of cyber security startups and scaleups. The Cyber 101 programme formed part of the Government’s £1.9bn National Cyber Security Strategy, with activities that included intensive one-day bootcamps, deep dive sessions and demo days.

As Fabian Eberle explained, “Cyber101 provided us with valuable resources and a learning community to further expand our go-to-market strategy.

“Startup life can be daunting. With Digital Catapult, you meet peers in the same situation and experts who challenge your thinking, your product, go-to-market strategies and coach your presentation style. All this was invaluable and helped Keyless get to where we are today.”

Keyless now has more than 20 active deployments, including large financial institutions and insurance players. Looking to the future, the company plans to focus more on the consumer identity space in banking and healthcare, with plans to expand into Central Europe, then the US and the APAC region, while continuing to grow its solutions in existing markets.

“There are emerging themes, like digital identities and decentralised identities, that put users in control of their information,” Fabian said.

“These are areas where we believe we have a unique technical capability, not as an end-to-end consumer product, a keyless identity wallet, but in providing the technical means to help other companies offer this service to their users and ecosystems.”

Keyless Technologies was one of 6 winners at the 2021 Digital Catapult Awards, showcasing the best UK technology startups and scaleups that have grown and developed through Digital Catapult’s programmes and innovation activities.

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