Startup Spotlight: TypingDNA

 

Biometrics, as defined by Techtarget.com, is “the measurement and statistical analysis of people’s physical and behavioural characteristics.” Biometric systems are used to identify a person’s identity through ways such as iris scan, voice recognition, palm prints, fingerprints, facial recognition, and DNA. They record information about a user and capture an image or recording of a specific trait. They then store that information as a code or graph for future use and, when employed, they compare the information at hand to the stored version and this either accepts or rejects authentication.

TypingDNA has taken biometrics to another level: they gather knowledge about typing biometrics (the way people type on computer keyboards). They are mostly doing research at this point and will eventually make some of it commercially available in the form of different solutions. They came up with the idea from graphology, the study of handwriting, and wanted to research deeper and see if they could extrapolate to the way people type.

The amazing result? TypingDNA enables safer authentication on websites and/or apps based on typing biometrics as a multi-factor, through a friction-less process. And they provide all the tools and intelligence for this purpose.

Meet the team behind the product

Raul Popa, CEO and Data Scientist, 36 years old, 15 years in the software industry, a multidisciplinary entrepreneur, former programmer turned product manager and cofounder, turned machine learning enthusiast. Also studied Sociology and Psychology.

Cristian Tamas, Marketing Manager, 26 years old, studied management, worked as a marketing consultant, account manager and manager of account management for a while. Worked with Raul for about two years.

Adrian Gheara, VP of Business Development, 36 years old, a very well known tech-oriented entrepreneur, advisor and angel investor.

The market

Their target market consists of corporations and governments (for authentication and continuous authorization), e-banking solutions (for online transactions mostly), e-payment solutions, e-learning platforms and universities, and any website/app that works with user generated content, or gives an account to a user.

Current stage of product development

TypingDNA has a validated prototype (they reached this stage by attending multiple meetings with high stake potential clients). They have a few beta integrations that can’t yet be disclosed, they’re discussing with FIDO to join the alliance, become certified and start getting requests to present their solution to a more interested crowd, especially in fintech and security.

Competitors

BehavioSec is their oldest and largest competitor, they work with a lot of banking and corporations. They have a very good accuracy after they reach a certain plateau consisting of a number of previous samples from a user, but TypingDNA also provides high accuracy (~97%) only after seeing one sample. TypingDNA is still in its early adoption phaseso there is a lot of potential for other similar companies to surface.

KeyTrac is a newer solution that is focused especially on e-learning and online universities. They have a good solution but they record personal user data such as emails in order to perform typing biometrics matching. TypingDNA does not do that. They are able to match between two or more typing patterns without having to record and store personal user data.

Also, their solution is radically faster and can be used to solve other types of typing biometrics problems.

Business model

They’re offering a subscription based Software as a Service solution that comes in the form of a cloud API, that can be used to perform multiple types of typing biometrics authentication but also for other typing biometrics problems. They currently charge per request, but also offer custom packages to some customers.

raul-popa-1The money

So far, Raul Popa, TypingDNA’s CEO, invested some personal money and his full time involvement in the company, but they’re going to raise a seed round in the next one to two months .

Biggest challenge

They have two major difficulties at the moment: finding the right investors and the right first customers who really need their solution (this has the potential to solve an important problem for them). Research and development in this area have lot to offer as well.

The MVP Academy experience

“MVP Academy was an incredible journey”, says Raul. He felt that the team behind MVP Academy is made of professionals with impressive background and connections in everything tech related. “Being included in the 2016 batch is the best thing that could happen to TypingDNA. It completely reshaped what TypingDNA does from the roots. Thanks in no small part to this awesome experience and the incredible team behind it, we managed to rapidly evolve and focus on what really matters”, he enforces.

Their first public solution is an Authentication API that is made for apps which want to add an extra security layer based on the way users type. Another solution is in the works, it’s an app that runs on people’s personal/corporate computer and protects it by blocking all potential intruders when they start typing (these may include friends, family and colleagues, but also thieves and hackers, anyone but the user himself).

Top 3 things learned from the MVP Academy experience

  1. Never think that you know everything, because you don’t.
  2. When you build a product be honest about what you want to build and talk to as many people as you can about it. Don’t keep it a secret. If it’s going to be a fail, you need to fail fast and adjust as soon as possible.
  3. Last thing, learn from other companies and other people’s mistakes.

What does the future hold?

TypingDNA’s main focus is getting even better at what they do, and that probably means going through a program covering security and fintech in Western Europe or the UK, while they are starting to integrate with some beta clients. They want to raise their first seed round and hire a small team that would help them get there faster. “In one year, expect to see us everywhere, but mostly where the money is”, Raul confidently admits.

Discover the stories of other emerging startups in the tech industry and network with leaders in the regional tech community on November 1st & 2nd at How to Web Conference 2016. Early Bird tickets are now on sale on the conference website!

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