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The surveillance society

The surveillance society
June 11, 2020

Facial recognition technology is under fire. Equity-related concerns have surfaced after race issues were brought to the forefront by recent protests. The technology itself is feared to have been developed with racial profiling and biases. IBM has now said that it will no longer sell facial recognition technology because of its potential in racial profiling and surveillance and has called on Congress to combat systemic racism.

On the legislation and policy level, Clearview is being sued by the ACLU by its use of facial recognition, and Boston moves to ban the technology full stop. 

Still, not everyone is turning its back on the technology. CaixaBank, a leading retail bank in Spain, launches a nationwide deployment of ATMs with facial recognition technology. The system is the first on a global level that allows users to withdraw money by simply recognizing them from the image captured by the terminal's camera, skipping the need to manually enter a PIN.

UK-based Lloyds Bank is testing biometric authentication technology to allow customers to log in to their mobile banking using their face while MasterCard has been experimenting since 2016 with a feature that it calls “selfie pay.” That same year, Amazon registered a patent for a similar payment system.

Chevron is trialing the technology to see if it can help recognize fatigue in truck drivers and ExxonMobil has launched DriverDash, an app that streamlines fuel payments by allowing drivers to use facial recognition to record and authorize transactions. Check out all the facial recognition companies on PrivCo under the keyword "Facial Recognition".


Pandemic back-to-office work spurs growth in office clinics. For years, employer medical providers like Stanford Health Care, Crossover Health and One Medical have been building out custom clinics to offer not only urgent care and routine doctor's appointments, but also dental work, musculoskeletal assessments, acupuncture, and therapy — both physical and mental. The idea is to rein in health care costs while providing another attractive recruiting benefit.

Now the question is how premium health insurance plans and contracted doctors might be used to administer COVID-19 diagnostic tests, virtually screen employees for risk factors, or issue some form of "immunity passports" based on so-far-unproven antibody tests.

At One Medical, which operates clinics that serve employees of Airbnb, Instacart, and Google, Chief Quality Officer Raj Behal and his team are working with tech employers considering a wide range of screening measures. Some lean toward lower-cost, less-invasive temperature checks, and apps that ask employees to self-certify that they are symptom-free.

One Medical is among a growing number of vendors that have devised a new platform to dole out employee "boarding passes" to go back to work after they've been screened for risk factors like travel and preexisting conditions.

Crossover Health sees another path forward — third-party membership medical programs like Crossover's or One Medical's will expand beyond the realm of Silicon Valley and become the norm. Like a gym membership, but for health care, it also borrows heavily from the Medicare Advantage model in which patients are also offered related services like meal programs or prescription deliveries.

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Facial Recognition Technology Companies:

Toonstar was founded by John Attanasio and Luisa Huang and offers an iOS app that allows users to customize cartoon characters and then animate them using their own facial expressions. The resulting cartoons can be live-streamed (both on Toonstar itself and other services like Facebook Live and YouTube Live), allowing viewers to interact by adding their own animations, such as dropping an anvil into the scene.

Pilot AI Labs was founded in 2015 by Ankit Kumar, Brian Pierce, Elliot English, and Jonathan Su to solve high-impact problems by developing computationally efficient algorithms to enable pervasive artificial intelligence. Pilot AI provides perception solutions across a broad range of industries, from Retail and Smart Home to Government. The Pilot platform is designed to be useful from the very start, from application-specific, out-of-the-box models to easy integration with edge devices and the cloud. The result is secure data, decreased data processing costs, and faster, more accurate insights.

Incode Technologies was founded in 2015 by Ricardo Amper and is located in San Francisco, CA. Incode Technologies is an omni-channel biometric identity company that builds secure, top-rated solutions for frictionless banking, healthcare, hospitality, and retail experiences. The company’s end-to-end web and mobile solutions are adopted globally for a variety of applications, including remote account opening & on-boarding, identity & document verification, and transactions by some of the world’s largest financial institutions, governments, and retailers.

Axuall is a digital network for verifying identity, credentials, and authenticity in real-time. It addresses the need to eliminate waste, prevent fraud, manage risk, and meet the demand for next-generation products and services in healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, government, and other industries where proof matters. Axuall's technology digitally fuses assertions with the corresponding digital signatures of authorized verifying entities, forming a cryptographic bond that is continuously re-verified and kept up-to-date. This global network links credential holders, verifiers, and subscribers, providing self-sovereign, portable, and real-time sharing of digital proof across the expanding marketplace and digital economy. Axuall, Inc. was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

GEENEE is a mobile software company that helps portable devices see the world around them through lightweight and robust image and video recognition. They trigger contextual content at the moment of inspiration, from ticket sales and film trailers to augmented reality stories and storefronts. GEENEE Inc. was founded in 2014 by Andrew Rogal, Philipp Holzschneider, and Thorsten Magers and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Funding & Deal Highlights:
eCommerce marketplace notches more than $1.7M in funding, exceeding its initial funding goal of $1M, for a first-round valuation of $10M, according to an announcement. The company says it is gearing up for its second round of financing that “currently values the company at $30M.”

ClassTag, the parent-teacher communications platform, has raised $5M in seed funding. Founded by Jason Olim and Vlada Lotkina in 2015, ClassTag has now raised a total of $11.6M in equity funding.

STIRISTA, a data-driven digital marketing solutions provider known for its identity-driven and authoritative data assets, announces that it has raised $13M in growth equity financing. The financing was led by Boston-based Wavecrest Growth Partners with participation from industry veteran Dennis Ainge, a founding executive of TARGUSinfo and a former executive at Neustar.

Appfire, a leading provider of apps for software development teams, announces that it has received a $49M strategic investment from Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm. The investment marks the first time Appfire has raised outside capital, which will be used to expand the company’s cloud-based product offerings and support strategic acquisitions of complementary apps.

Whatifi, a Los Angeles, CA-based company providing an app to watch movies on a phone with friends, launches with $10M in funding. Whatifi provides the ability to discuss, debate and decide what happens next in the movies people watch with friends and family, offering dozens of plot lines, character arcs, and endings. Each film is broken down into short segments. At key turning points, the watch party is presented with a dilemma and has to make a decision. If the group doesn’t vote unanimously, they can jump into the built-in chat feature to discuss.

MPOWER Financing, a Washington, D.C.-based fintech platform for educational loans to high-promise international and DACA students, raises $9M in funding.

Database security startup jSonar has secured $50M in new funding from Goldman Sachs. jSonar’s database security platform can monitor every one of its customers’ databases at a glance, regardless of whether they’re stored on-premise or in the cloud, and supports every popular database platform.

Bridge, which rebranded from Proof Network Ventures in October, has been acquired from SevenFifty Technologies for an undisclosed amount. Since its founding in October 2018, the company has undergone a rebrand, acquired a similar business named Tipsi, and secured funding from Florida Funders.

Activist investor Starboard Value LP has built a stake in U.S. data protection and data management software company Commvault (CVLT.O), saying in a regulatory filing that it felt the shares were undervalued when it purchased them.

Xenon Partners picks up collaborative digital design and prototyping platform UXPin – the latest in a string of PE deals leveraging the rise in remote working and applications.

Brynwood Partners VIII LP acquires Nestle SA’s North American Buitoni pasta business. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Excel Display and Packaging, a supplier of retail packaging, displays, and food packaging along with digital print capabilities, has been acquired by Indiana-based company Welch Packaging.

Saratech, an award-winning provider of Engineering Services, Siemens Digital Industries PLM Software and 3D Printing Solutions, announces the acquisition of Apex Digital Manufacturing Solutions, Inc., a PLM software provider, from the Sconce Group, effective June 2, 2020. Saratech will take over all of Apex’s PLM software license and subscription sales, support services, and training classes.

Since last week, PrivCo has added:
304,220 Profiles Updates | 175 M&A Deals125 Funding Activities
Latest Revenues, EV, EBITDA, and Valuations
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Thanks for reading. 
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