Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: Distributed Biometrics, Connecting The Campus, And A Search Engine For Work

Hello and welcome back to Last Week In Venture, the weekly rundown of deals which may have flown under your radar.

There are plenty of companies operating outside the unicorn and public company spotlights, but their stories are still worth sharing. In them we can find trends and get a glimpse of what’s coming down the pike.

Without further ado, let’s dive into some of the deals from the week that was in venture-land.

Keyless

In the world of security, trust is a liability, especially when it comes to passwords. People and passwords don’t tend to play well together. It’s easier to re-use the same password for multiple services. A strong password can be easily forgotten. Storing authentication data turns web companies into targets for bad actors. It’s kind of a mess.

With offices in New York, Singapore, and London, Keyless is a cybersecurity company aiming to use biometrics and a distributed cryptographic storage and validation protocol to make passwords a thing of the past. According to the Keyless white paper, features are extracted from biometric scans, like a picture of one’s face, then are split, encrypted, and stored across several nodes in the Keyless network. Upon an authentication event, the system calls back the partial keys and reassembles them to get the stored key.

Keyless raised $2.2 million in a pre-seed round led by gumi Cryptos Capital which saw participation from Xpring, Ripple, LuneX Ventures, and Blockchain Valley Ventures.

Searchable.AI

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been 95 percent sure I’ve written about or researched a topic in the past but am 100 percent unable to find that information in the moment, when I need it most. Even though I’m pretty fastidious with organizing and labeling notes and files, it’s often the case that the magical incantations I type into a search bar fail to summon anything of value. A new startup hopes to help knowledge workers find what they need to get the job done.

Founded by veteran entrepreneur, startup investor, and expert in information retrieval and automated decision systems Brian Shin, Searchable.ai is a rather stealthy San Francisco-based startup. According to a press release announcing $2 million in seed funding, the company is developing “a new personalized semantic search engine for your work.”

The deal was led by Defy.vc and saw participation from Susquehanna International Group. An array of angels including HubSpot co-founder Brian Halligan, Kayak co-founder Paul English, and MIT professor Edward Roberts, among others, also contributed to the round.

Campuswire

It seems like every couple of years a startup comes along to improve higher education by creating another communication channel between students and teaching faculty.

Campuswire is one of those startups. Headquartered in New York, the company is building what its founder, Tade Oyerinde, described to EdSurge as a blend of Slack, Reddit, and Piazza, focusing on interaction and communication. It doesn’t have all the features of a legacy learning management system like Blackboard, but that’s because the company wants to do one thing well. Campuswire was founded in 2016, has 11 full-time employees, and serves 133 schools.

This week, the company announced $3.6 million in funding from Betaworks, Bloomberg Beta, Precursor Ventures, and Rethink Education. Individuals participating in the deal include Discord founder Jason Citron, First Round Capital partner Rob Hayes, and others.

Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by Scott Webb, via Unsplash.

Copy link