A recently formed Plano startup is looking to help people make payments with their faces and voices.
Wink, a biometric authentication and payment platform, announced landing an $2.85 million pre-seed funding round led by early-stage venture capital firm Cerracap Ventures and advisory firm Carneros Bay. The raise was nearly $2 million more than the $1 million the company initially targeted.
“There is an opportunity to simplify payments and authentication, starting with e-commerce, but eventually the entire Web3 movement at large,” said Deepak Jain, Wink’s founder and CEO, in a statement.
Wink, which bills itself as the “first zero-click camera checkout,” used voice and facial recognition technology to create a multi-factor authentication payment acceptance process. A user’s biometric data is “tokenized” and stored in Wink’s cloud, allowing the user’s face and voice to be used in lieu of passwords to log in and to make payments, without inputting financial information.
The new funding round, which was joined by Tntra Ventures and a handful of tech entrepreneurs, will help Wink launch its product to the public later this year. The company said it’s in the process of showcasing its tech to payment processors, ID verification companies, e-commerce platforms, and individual merchants.
“At Wink, our mission is to empower transactions that don’t rely on passwords, credit card numbers, or expensive device-based authentication techniques, making the internet a safer place for both merchants and consumers,” Jain said.
A payments professional
Wink was founded last year by Jain, who has deep ties to the fintech and payments space both as an entrepreneur and angel investor. Most recently serving as the global head of payments for publicly traded fintech company Finablr, Jain also founded DeviceFidelity and Swych. According to Wink’s website, the company currently has a team of four, and counts Carneros CEO Gary Bender and Tntra chairman Mehul Desai as advisors.
“Strong authentication together with a wonderful customer experience is the most vital step in e-commerce. For every business, regardless of size, any compromise or data breach affects the bottom line and damages reputation,” Bender said in a statement. “This is a pain point we hear from our portfolio companies across varying industries. Wink is combating this problem head-on by enabling businesses to modernize their authentication and payments experiences, without any disruption to their existing systems.”
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