Travel & tourism

ID Verification Company Clear Files For IPO As Travel Picks Up

Clear, the company known for using biometric data to verify identities, has filed to go public.

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If you’ve walked through security at a major airport in the United States, you’ve likely seen signage for Clear, which allows enrolled members to pass through a security checkpoint quickly by scanning their eyes and face.

While it’s perhaps best known for its airport usage (investors in the company include United Airlines and Delta Air Lines), Clear is also used for identity verification and security at live events. The New York-based company reports having 5.6 million cumulative enrollments. Clear is available in 38 airport locations and works with 26 sports and entertainment partners, according to the company.

Among the largest stockholders in the company are Delta Air Lines, General Atlantic and T. Rowe Price

Clear is heavily reliant on travel and live events, both of which were essentially put on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. But even though travel and live events took a hit, Clear still grew its memberships and revenue, and brought down its losses, according to its S-1.

The company reported nearly $230.8 million in revenue last year, up 20 percent from $192.3 million in 2019. And although the company’s total bookings declined 10.6 percent from 2019 to 2020, its net losses shrank from $54.2 million in 2019 to $9.3 million in 2020.

The company acknowledged in the “Risk Factors” section that the pandemic limited its growth in airports, the entertainment industry and events. 

“We experienced a decrease in enrollments for our airport service and a decrease in membership renewals,” the company wrote. “In fiscal year 2020, our Annual CLEAR Plus Net Member Retention declined to 78.8% (compared to 86.2% in fiscal year 2019). We expect that COVID-19 will continue to adversely impact our airport enrollments and business in 2021 and possibly beyond.”

Clear also acknowledged that its performance is dependent on the strength of the travel industry, since it “derived substantially all of our historical revenue from members who enroll in CLEAR Plus, which includes our Registered Traveler Program service at U.S. airports, and one of our growth strategies is to continue expanding in our domestic aviation network.”

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are among the underwriters for the IPO. The company intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker YOU.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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