The fall out from Equifax’s recent data breach will be felt for years to come. Relying on a third party to safely store your personal information is no longer a given in an era where hackers wait to exploit any vulnerability. HYPR Corp is the enterprise-facing security and usability solution that decentralizes your personal data by keeping them with you and not with the enterprise. It secures any method of authentication from passwords to PINs to biometrics, allowing companies to seamlessly manage credentials without having to worry about storing the data safely.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO and cofounder George Avetisov about the company and what will change with their newest round of Series A funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
HYPR Corp. has raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by RRE Ventures with additional participation from RTP Ventures, Boldstart Ventures, and Mesh Ventures.
Tell us about your product or service.
HYPR is an enterprise-facing security and usability solution that delivers on the trust that mobile, desktop and IoT users instinctively want to have in their applications and devices. HYPR does this by ensuring personal credentials such as biometrics, PINs, and passwords (personal data used for login, payments and IoT management) always remain safe on users’ devices. Our solution greatly reduces the risk of a mass credentials breach.
What inspired you to start the company?
We meditated on a complex problem – If safeguarding personal credentials is critical to ensuring the safety of our connected world, how can the public rely on enterprises to be responsible for our personal data? The answer was simple — decentralize the credentials and enterprises won’t have to store them in the first place.
How is it different?
HYPR upends the current authentication paradigm of centralization of sensitive user data. Our decentralized model is foundationally different in how users interact with the applications and devices that they carry every day. HYPR gives back control of their personal credentials, and delivers faster, frictionless authentication. The end product is trust.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We work with Fortune 500 enterprises. With over 25 million users HYPR Secure, we work across financial services, insurance, payments, and automotive. We’re also working with ATM manufacturing, connected lock, and other IoT system makers.
What’s your business model?
We define our customer’s needs based on the size of the workforce and the needs of their customer base.
How have the dynamics of your business changed since we last spoke after your Seed round in October of 2016?
The threat landscape has grown more ominous since we last spoke. Strangely, enterprises have become increasingly more centralized, giving hackers big targets. The IoT’s emergence also increased the number of connected devices. In addition, there are now 2 billion mobile devices whose hardware sensors make possible, and more accurate, a passwordless experience. We’ve all observed a change from a data breach flurry to a blizzard. Trust is more necessary and more desired today than we last spoke, and we are delivering it more vigorously with those 25 million HYPR users we secure.
What was the funding process like?
For this Series A round we continued our strategy of seeking the best and brightest New York investors, teams immersed in enterprise software, and those who share our vision for delivering next-gen user experiences. Our A Round leader RRE Ventures, led by James Robinson IV, was extraordinarily receptive to the way we reimagine authentication. RTP Ventures, Boldstart Ventures, and Mesh Ventures all returned to validate our solution and team with a shared point of view.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
RRE Ventures is a top firm with a seasoned team that wholly endorses the way we reimagine authentication. A common interest in delivering the best solutions and building a great team cemented the foundations of our relationship. We now enjoy an excellent rapport with James, the other RRE Ventures board member Alice Lloyd George, independent board member Nick Donofrio, who is a 44-year veteran of IBM, and the board members representing our prior investors.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
The HYPR team currently stands at 25 people. We look forward to doubling by adding the best and brightest in security and usability. Engaging forward-thinking Fortune 500 partners at our current pace, we’re looking forward to getting closer to announcing 100 million users sooner than expected.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
I suggest you build your company for your customers and not for investors. The validation and revenue you get from your first customers often comes with the added benefit of internal champions who want to see you succeed. A company that can stand on its own also validates a lot of what professional investors such as RRE Ventures, RTP Ventures, Boldstart Ventures, and Mesh Ventures want to see.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Over the near term there I see hiring, hiring and hiring. The bulk of resources means we are going to lean hard into expanding HYPR and the team of rock stars who have made it all possible so far. There is also a major rebranding and makeover that inverts the conversation in cybersecurity from a story about fear, to a long overdue story about what we have to look forward to.
Where is your favorite fall destination in the city?
With so many airline hours logged of late, I hope to be in one place for more than just a short stint. My favorite place in the fall is my bedroom. I don’t like the fall. It gives me anxiety because I feel as if I’m returning to school, even though I haven’t attended school in a decade.