Startup: Trust Stamp
Security type: Preferred equity
Valuation: $25 million
Share price: $7.79
Stage: Series A
Minimum investment: $997
Where to invest: SeedInvest
Deadline: July 19. But campaign may end earlier if maximum target is reached
I first talked to Trust Stamp – the company I’m recommending to you today – a couple of weeks ago. It was one of the more disappointing days in my life. It was also one of the most exhilarating.
Why was I disappointed? Because I learned the truth about biometrics. I thought it was the solution for verifying identities. I thought your face, fingerprints and the pupils of your eyes were unique and impossible to replicate.
Alas, Trust Stamp told me I was only half right. Biometric markers are unique. But they’re not impossible to replicate.
Take facial recognition. It begins with a photo of your face. The company that is identifying you uses that photo to create and store your facial template. The template isn’t the photo itself. It’s a set of measurements that represent your face.
But if that online database is hacked, your face can be recreated. Then it’s open season on all the accounts you access through facial recognition. Not only that, but you can never use facial recognition again. You’ve been permanently outed.
Hacks are underreported and happen all the time. A modest sized government agency like the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) faces 10 million attempted digital intrusions a month! And it only takes one “successful” attempt to wreak havoc and affect millions of lives. It happened to the OPM in April 2015. Millions of fingerprints were stolen along with other sensitive data.
Banks and financial institutions don’t discuss this in public. But it’s a huge problem. And the company that solves this issue will have dozens (perhaps hundreds) of ways to make money. The market is huge.
More than $40 billion a year is lost to stolen identities. And more than $20 billion a year is never transacted because the parties failed traditional authentication procedures.
By 2023, mobile biometrics is expected to authenticate $2 trillion in payments annually. By 2025, the global biometrics market is expected to grow from nearly $15 billion in 2018 to more than $40 billion.
Using the ‘EgHash’ to Protect Your Identity
You need to understand the basics of Trust Stamp’s technology to appreciate just how transformative it is.
The centerpiece of Trust Stamp’s system is the “EgHash.” That’s short for “Evergreen Hash.” A hash simply means combining two data sets. The company has developed a proprietary process of converting any kind of biometric data (or any kind of data in general) into an “EgHash.”
Let’s go back to facial biometrics. Let’s say you open a bank account with a photo of your face. It’s stored as a set of facial measurements. When you go back into your bank account a second time, you’re asked to take another selfie, which immediately converts to a second set of facial measurements. This creates an “EgHash” token. And it becomes your “evergreened” tokenized identity or “EgHash” token. Everytime you access your bank account, you provide a photo of your face and a new token is immediately created or evergreened.
The token can’t be reversed. And no two tokens are exactly the same. They are probabilistically matched using Trust Stamp’s algorithms.
And even if hackers manage to penetrate the online database where the tokens are stored, they can’t use them. The probability of creating a new token with the same face as another token is virtually zero. If two tokens come in and they’re exactly the same, Trust Stamp immediately knows they’ve been compromised.
But does it really work?
It sure does. In a large-scale beta project last year involving 8,000 users of a well-known financial institution, 63 fraudsters were caught and 33 suspects were identified. And three organized crime gangs were taken down.
Right now, there is nothing on the market (or on the horizon) that can outsmart Trust Stamp’s system — including quantum computing.
Business is Ramping Up
This is the year that Trust Stamp puts its breakthrough technology to work.
Trust Stamp is focusing on three big areas right now.
Its first priority is to help credit card companies securely onboard their vendors and customers. The market is huge. Trust Stamp has been working with Synchrony Financials the past couple of years. Synchrony provides credit card services to millions of stores. In the US. alone, it has 80 million accounts. And it may not even be the biggest credit card company that’s working closely with Trust Stamp.
Trust Stamp’s second priority is the work it’s doing with another powerful partner — Mastercard. Mastercard gave Trust Stamp a key role in its ambitious healthcare project in Africa. The company is providing 100 million children there – who don’t have a government-issued identity – with a biometric identity instead. Trust Stamp will track the individual activity and progress of all 100 million children participating in the project over the next 10 years. Trust Stamp received a $2.5 million upfront fee for the project and will be paid an additional $20-30 million over the next decade.
Trust Stamp’s third priority targets adjacent markets like insurance. Insurance companies want to strengthen the validation of their customers — especially when they sign up remotely to make key changes to their policy (like changing beneficiaries). Trust Stamp is talking to a number of insurance companies and planning several pilot projects with them.
Another adjacent space is email. Trust Stamp’s technology would require email senders to authenticate who they are before they send the email. Recipients of the email then view the authentication knowing that the email is legit. It takes all the guesswork out of the equation.
Trust Stamp Has Built a Huge Moat
Trust Stamp’s technology is unique. It took four years and more than $9 million to develop. It can take identity data from any source and work with data from any provider. The same token can be used to open bank accounts or go on cruises. Trust Stamp doesn’t have true competitors. And it doesn’t expect any to emerge in the foreseeable future. Legacy vendors like Mastercard are lining up to serve — in effect — as enormous market channels.
Trump Stamp is data agnostic. It doesn’t care what biometric marker you use. As a result, there’s a clear pathway for Trust Stamp to become the dominant identity authenticator. And that’s exactly what Trust Stamp’s founder and CEO, Gareth Genner, wants.
A lawyer by training and entrepreneur by nature, Gareth has notched two successful tech company exits so far. And he has a deeply experienced management team to help him guide Trust Stamp to success.
The CTO (Scott Francis) worked for nine years at Google and has another 11 years of tech development experience. Emma Lindley, the company’s CCO, was the Head of Identity and Risk at Visa Europe. The Chief Science Officer (Dr. Norman Poh) has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications to his name.
The list goes on and on! Trust Stamp is aiming for around $80 million in banked revenue and another $240 million in user fees by 2024-25. That’s $320 million in revenue they’re shooting for in five years. It’s a significant amount of money. But it represents less than 1% of the market. It’s a very realistic target. If things pop right, Trust Stamp could easily surpass it. But introducing transformative technology into huge markets isn’t easy. Trust Stamp has built a formidable team. And it’ll need all of their expertise and drive to get the job done.
But what a big opportunity! Trust Stamp has done a nice job in laying the groundwork. And I believe this team can succeed in both disrupting the identity verification market and delivering value to its investors.
How to Invest
Trust Stamp is raising up to $6,875,000 on SeedInvest. If you don’t already have a SeedInvest account, you’ll need to sign up for one. Once you verify your account and are logged in to SeedInvest, visit the Trust Stamp deal page. Then click the button to invest. Enter the amount you want to invest, starting as low as $997, and proceed through the required steps. Be sure your investment is confirmed, then you’re good to go.
This opportunity, like all early-stage investments, is risky. Early-stage investments often fail. The investment you’re making is NOT liquid. Expect to hold your position for five to 10 years. An earlier exit is always possible but should not be expected.
All that said, I believe Trust Stamp offers an attractive risk-reward ratio.