CEO’S Bi-Annual Update
Vince Graziani, CEO of IDEX Biometrics, provides his perspective at mid-year 2021, reflecting on six months of significant change and building momentum.
The first six months of 2021 have been truly extraordinary for IDEX Biometrics as on the 1st of March we began trading on the Nasdaq under the trading symbol “IDBA.” The board and I firmly believe a dual listing (Norwegian Oslo Børs & U.S. Nasdaq) improves our visibility to a much broader base of prospective shareholders, thereby, over time, meaningfully improving liquidity. The Nasdaq listing is already contributing to higher market awareness of our brand and our biometric technologies, not just in the U.S., but globally.
From a financial perspective, in Q1 we completed a heavily oversubscribed Private Placement on the Oslo Børs, which raised gross proceeds of USD 27.5m (NOK 229m). The Private Placement attracted strong interest from high-quality Norwegian and European institutional investors. The proceeds are allowing us to fund general corporate costs and new strategic investments.
From a team perspective, we have strengthened the commercial side of the business by bringing on board Cat Eklof as Chief Commercial Officer. Cat brings over 20 years of global executive management experience across the Financial Services, Retail, Travel, and Security verticals. She has successfully led the ‘go-to-market’ strategy and deployment for multiple technology focused Fortune 500 firms. Cat will lead our Business Development, Marketing, and Sales functions globally, as well as being a key member of my Executive Management Team.
We also welcomed a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Jamie Simms, who has extensive experience with publicly-listed companies in the high-tech vertical. Prior to joining us, Jamie was CFO of Vicor Corporation, where he played a significant role in repositioning the company both strategically and organizationally, leading to an order of magnitude expansion in market capitalization. Jamie will also be a key member of my Executive Management Team.
At our 2021 Annual General Meeting, we officially welcomed two new Board Members, Annika Olsson, and Thomas Quindlen. Annika is CEO at Express Bank A/S, a Nordic bank that is part of the BNP Paribas Group, which serves more than 27m clients across 30 countries. Tom is Executive Vice President & CEO for Retail Card at Synchrony, a U.S. based premier consumer financial services company and Fortune 200 company.
All of the above appointees look forward to working with all our stakeholders to help IDEX to achieve its ambitions and deliver value to its shareholders and customers.
An opportunity that is really exciting me, and the whole team at IDEX, is the emergence of a new payment vertical, Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). We have already publicly announced that we are working with Goldpac, Chutian Dragon, and the Postal Bank of China on multiple CBDC related initiatives in China, where the digital currency is called Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP). The planned rapid deployment of DCEP, ahead of the Winter Olympics in February 2022, presents an ideal application for our secure fingerprint sensors and biometric technologies in protecting stored value within a hard (also known as a cold) “wallet” in the form of a biometrically enabled smart card. We are also talking to multiple other Card Manufacturers and Card Issuers, as there are many other central banks around the world looking to launch their own CBDC. This has the potential to be a huge incremental market opportunity. If you would like to understand more about CBDCs we have published a series of blog posts which can be found here.
The milestone that has made the team most proud was announcing that our third generation family of products, TrustedBio™, was selected by one of the world’s largest card manufacturers, IDEMIA, for use in their F.CODE Biometric Payment Card. This is the most highly integrated Biometric Payment Card in the industry today and leads the market in terms of biometric performance and card integration efficiency. To date we have received multiple volume orders from IDEMIA and expect further volume orders in the second half of 2021.
In addition to IDEMIA, we have announced we have sold TrustedBio products to several other customers including DongWoon Anatech, Ubivelox, and Zwipe.
As I said at the very beginning of this post, the first half of 2021 has been characterized by building momentum, including the following:
- We entered into a strategic engagement with an additional U.S. based global payment network. This is the third payment network (in addition to China UnionPay and Mastercard) to partner with us to advance the adoption of biometric payment cards. We anticipate being able to publicly identify this payment network later this year
- We announced that we had expanded our partnership with a global payment solutions provider. Together, we will offer a fully integrated system for biometric smart cards based on our partners market-leading secure elements and our TrustedBio biometric sensors, matching algorithms, and related software
- We announced that our fingerprint sensor and a secure element from Tongxin Microelectronics had been included in a second Biometric Payment Card certified by China UnionPay. The certified card, manufactured by Goldpac Group, is available now for volume production.
A great deal has changed at IDEX Biometrics already in 2021. We have a much more commercially focused Executive Management Team in place, as well as a very strong Board of Directors. The IDEX of today has five offices spread across three continents (Asia, Europe, and North America) and our team represents 15 nationalities including American, Armenian, British, Chinese, French, Indian, Japanese, Korean and Norwegian.
From a product perspective, IDEX is the only true end-to-end fingerprint biometric authentication and identification provider. We have developed and are shipping the only biometric platform that includes the fingerprint sensor, a range of reference designs and integration kits, biometric algorithms, and a remote enrollment solution. In addition, we have built up the most extensive (versus our major competition) partner network of component suppliers, including the leading Secure Element vendors and Card Inlay/Prelam providers.
At this stage, I am unable to share with you our plans and news for the second half of 2021, but I can assure you that we have lots to be positive about. I very much look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months.