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IBM and SecureKey Technologies to Deliver Blockchain-Based Digital Identity Network for Consumers

March 22, 2017

Collaboration between leaders in blockchain and identity authentication to help increase privacy, security and trust for consumers worldwide

Las Vegas – IBM InterConnect – 20 Mar 2017: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and SecureKey Technologies today announced they are working together to enable a new digital identity and attribute sharing network based on IBM Blockchain. The network will be designed to make it easier for consumers to verify they are who they say they are, in a privacy-enhanced, security-rich and efficient way. When launched later this year, consumers can use the network to instantly verify their identity for services such as new bank accounts, driver’s licenses or utilities.

To create a highly secure, global and enterprise-ready ecosystem for sharing identity requires both advanced federated identity technology and blockchain technology specifically designed for regulated industries. Together SecureKey and IBM are developing a digital identity and attribute sharing network using IBM’s Blockchain service which is built on top of the Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Fabric v1.0. As a permissioned blockchain, the Hyperledger Fabric is an essential component in delivering services that comply with regulations where data protection and confidentiality matter.

The network is currently in the testing phase in Canada, and once it goes live later in 2017 Canadian consumers will be able to opt-in to the new blockchain-based service using a mobile app. Consumers – or network members – will be able to control what identifying information they share from trusted credentials to the organizations of their choice, for those organizations to quickly and efficiently validate the consumer’s identity and arrange new services. For example, if a consumer has proven their identity with their bank and a credit agency, they can grant permission to share their data with a utility to create a new account. Since the bank and the credit agency have already gone through extensive verification of the consumer’s identity, the utility can choose to rely on the fact that the information is verified, and the consumer can be approved for new services.

“What IBM is building with SecureKey and members of the digital identity ecosystem in Canada, including major banks, telecom companies and government agencies, will help tackle the toughest challenges surrounding identity,” said Marie Wieck, general manager, IBM Blockchain. “This method is an entirely different approach to identity verification, and together with SecureKey, we have a head start on putting it on the blockchain. This is a prime example of the type of innovation permissioned blockchain networks can accelerate.”

“Hyperledger Fabric is by far the most advanced permissioned-blockchain technology available today, in my opinion, both in protecting user data and allowing us to work within the context of industry and country privacy laws,” said Greg Wolfond, Founder and CEO, SecureKey Technologies. “Among the many contributors to Hyperledger Fabric including SecureKey, IBM is a standout innovator that has proven that they can rapidly bring blockchain solutions to production. We are very excited to enter into this formal agreement that will benefit consumers around the world.”

Canada’s leading banks, including BMO, CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank and TD joined the digital identity ecosystem in October, 2016, investing $27M collectively in SecureKey. The Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) and the Command Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analytics (CCICADA), a research center of excellence funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, have also provided funding to bring the new approach to digital identity to market. SecureKey’s leadership in identity is evidenced by its association with industry leaders and regulators such as DIACC, Privacy By Design, NIST, FIDO, OIX, Kantara and the Linux Foundation.

“Our goal for this partnership is to accelerate the pace at which we can develop a service to help consumers better manage, protect and control their digital assets and identity, and ultimately provide our customers with greater convenience and a better overall experience,” said Andrew Irvine, Head of Commercial Banking and Partnerships, BMO Bank of Montreal.

“Implementing forward thinking innovation is key to ensuring our clients have the best possible experience in today’s digital environment,” said Todd Roberts, Senior Vice President, Innovation, CIBC. “We are pleased to continue working with SecureKey to implement leading edge technology that protects our clients’ security and privacy in the digital ecosystem.”

“We believe that combining SecureKey’s expertise and innovation in identity and the technological knowledge and leadership of Hyperledger Fabric and IBM Blockchain’s High Security Business Network will be foundational in delivering a great identity solution for consumers in Canada and also help pave the way at the international level,” said Patrice Dagenais, Vice president, Payment and Business Partnerships for Desjardins Group.

“Collaborating with partners like SecureKey and IBM in the development and implementation of solutions that make our clients’ interactions secure and seamless is essential to meeting evolving expectations in a digital world,” said Eddy Ortiz, VP, Solution Acceleration and Innovation, RBC.  “Canada has an important opportunity to innovate with emerging technologies like blockchain to advance digital identity in Canada.”

“Scotiabank is embracing digital technologies like blockchain to offer a superior customer experience and to make it easier for customers to bank with us whenever they want and wherever they are,” said Mike Henry, Executive Vice President, Retail Payments, Deposits and Unsecured Lending, Scotiabank. “We are pleased to work with SecureKey and other innovative partners to provide Canadian consumers with an easy and secure privacy-enhanced digital ID process.”

“Helping Canadians control the security of their personal data to reduce the risk of fraud online, in person, or over the phone is innovating with purpose,” said Rizwan Khalfan, Chief Digital Officer, TD. “We are thrilled to work with SecureKey and its partners in the creation of an innovative identity ecosystem designed to allow our customers to digitally and securely validate their identity, when and how they want to.”

About SecureKey Technologies

SecureKey is a leading identity and authentication provider that simplifies consumer access to online services and applications. SecureKey enables next generation privacy-enhancing identity and authentication network for conveniently connecting people to critical online services using a digital credential they already have and trust. SecureKey is headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Boston and San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.securekey.com.

About IBM

IBM is the leader in secure open-source blockchain solutions built for the enterprise. As an early member of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, IBM is dedicated to supporting the development of openly-governed blockchains. IBM has worked with more than 400 clients across financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management, digital rights management and healthcare to implement blockchain applications delivered via the IBM Cloud. For more information about IBM Blockchain, visit      www.ibm.com/blockchain.

InterConnect is IBM’s cloud and cognitive conference where more than 20,000 developers, clients and partners are being introduced to the latest advancements in cloud computing through 2,000 sessions, labs and certifications. IBM is positioning both enterprise and startup clients for success with a complete portfolio of cloud services and marquee partnerships, supporting a wide range of applications including: big dataanalytics, blockchain and cognitive computing.

For more information, visit: https://www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/. For the IBM InterConnect Press Kit, visit: ibm.biz/IBMInterConnect2017. Engage in the conversation through @IBMCloud and #ibminterconnect.

 

Payfone Raises $23.5 Million to Fuel Its Leadership in the High-Growth Mobile Authentication Market

January 5, 2017

New York – January 5, 2017 – Payfone, the pioneer in mobile identity authentication for digital channels, today announced a $23.5-million Series E round of financing. BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners and Andrew Prozes led the round with new investors Strauss Zelnick, Maclab Development Group and Transaction Network Services, and with participation from current investors RRE Ventures, Opus Capital, Relay Ventures, Early Warning Services, American Express Ventures, Verizon Ventures and Rogers Venture Partners.

Mike Spadafore of Sandbox Industries, on behalf of Blue Cross Blue Shield Venture Partners, and Andrew Prozes, the former global CEO of LexisNexis, whose risk solutions are the premier identity authentication and verification services in the market today, join Payfone’s Board of Directors.

The financing reinforces Payfone’s leadership in the high-growth authentication market. Enterprises harnessing the power of digital channels to transform and grow their businesses are burdened with the increasing cost and complexity of authentication to fight identity theft and social engineering attacks from professional attackers.

“Years ago, we made a contrarian bet that the way in which mobile phones instantly authenticated themselves would solve fundamental issues with validating digital transactions. The web and mobile channels continue to suffer through the historical struggle with the trade-off between security and convenience.  And now the days of protecting sensitive data and securing high-value transactions with text messages, one-time passcodes, and knowledge-based questions, are numbered,” said Rodger Desai, CEO of Payfone.

Payfone’s patented mobile authentication technology is the first and leading solution to provide protection against these attacks, curbing fraud losses and authentication related expenses while driving engagement and customer lifetime value.

“Our mission at Payfone is to add instant trust to digital so businesses can focus on adding value to customers with engagement and servicing. Payfone is establishing the standard for how enterprises secure and authenticate digital transactions,” continued Desai.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently warned of the vulnerabilities of two factor SMS as an authenticator.  Additionally, the Chief Technologist at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Lorrie Cranor, was hacked with simple techniques that showcased the issues with current authentication standards.

“Payfone’s product set affords healthcare organizations the ability to shift valuable time and money spent verifying identity to driving engagement and better healthcare outcomes. Regulated industries such as banking, healthcare and insurance have a lot in common in this regard. Customers in each industry are shifting their activities to digital channels: from sales to customer services, to payments,” said Mike Spadafore, representing Blue Cross Blue Shield Venture Partners. “Through this investment, we are reinforcing our commitment to ensuring that healthcare consumers benefit from cutting-edge security solutions and protections.”

Andrew Prozes added, “the use of mobile for financial and healthcare and other applications is growing very rapidly; Payfone has figured out how to determine whether the phone you are using is actually your phone, using unique data, sophisticated patented algorithms and technology to not only identify and authenticate the caller, but to dramatically increase the rescue of transactions which previously would have been declined”.

 

About BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners

BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, L.P. is a corporate venture fund licensed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. The fund invests in promising emerging companies of strategic relevance to Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. Sandbox Industries is the exclusive provider of investment management services to BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners. For more information, visit www.bcbsvp.com.

 

About Payfone

In today’s world, it takes just a few bad actors to force businesses to treat all customers with suspicion. This leads to customer and employee frustration, increased operating costs and reduced revenue. Payfone delivers a seamless non-intrusive verification using your mobile phone’s inherent identity to provide persistent protection for businesses and their customers. This Instant Trust enables the best possible experience and lowers the risk of loss due to friction and fraud. The company is backed by leading venture firms, financial institutions, and Mobile Network Operators and is based in New York. For more information, visit www.payfone.com.

 

SecureKey Completes $27 Million Strategic Investment Round

October 18, 2016

TORONTO, Canada,

SecureKey Technologies Inc., a leading provider of identity and authentication solutions, today announced that it has raised $27 million CAD in growth capital to fund the commercial rollout of a privacy-enhancing digital identity network. Teaming up with SecureKey on this initiative and participating in the funding round are leading financial institutions: BMO Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC, Desjardins, Royal Bank of Canada and TD.

Building upon the success of the SecureKey ConciergeTM federated authentication service, SecureKey and its partners have established this strategic collaboration to accelerate the development of an innovative new service to be launched in 2017. The new service will make it easier for consumers to manage their digital assets and to take control of their digital identity in a privacy enhanced and secure way.

SecureKey also announced that founder and chairman Greg Wolfond has returned as CEO to lead the company’s collaboration with the nation’s largest financial services providers, continue the growth of SecureKey Concierge, and drive the next-generation identity and digital asset sharing initiative.

“We want to help put the consumer back in the middle and let them take control of their digital assets, to share what they want, with whom they want, and always with informed consent,” said Wolfond. “We are excited to be working with so many partners to develop and deliver a national ecosystem that puts consumers first. Canada’s largest financial institutions are among the most trusted in the world, and we could not have a better group of aligned strategic investors for this groundbreaking initiative.”

“SecureKey is creating an ecosystem for customers to manage their digital assets securely and conveniently. It’s a model that is being developed with substantial input from TD and other banks,” said Rizwan Khalfan, EVP and Chief Digital Officer, TD. “Investing in innovation that will improve the customer experience is core to our strategy. Given the priority we place on security and privacy, we’re uniquely positioned to help shape this offering.”

“We’re pleased to expand our partnership with SecureKey to launch the new digital ID platform that focuses on simultaneously protecting our customers’ privacy while offering the potential to significantly enrich the authentication process,” said Andrew Irvine, Head of Commercial Banking and Partnerships, BMO Bank of Montreal. “The new service will help provide our customers with greater convenience, and save them time for a better overall experience.”

“SecureKey pioneered federated identity and authentication in Canada by empowering consumers with secure and convenient access to online services. Banks like RBC are uniquely positioned to collaborate with SecureKey to realize a digital ID because of our deep knowledge of clients, best-in-class security standards, and our strict regulatory requirements,” said Eddy Ortiz, VP, Solution Acceleration & Innovation, RBC. “SecureKey’s digital identity service will provide our clients with the peace of mind that they have come to expect, and will be a foundational building block in building consumer trust for the evolving digital economy.”

“SecureKey is setting next-generation standards for enabling online identity,” said Mike Henry, Executive Vice President, Retail Payments, Deposits and Unsecured Lending at Bank of Nova Scotia. “We look forward to working closely with SecureKey to make customer-centric, privacy-enhanced digital ID a reality.”

“Innovation is all about adding value and creating opportunity for clients, and we are pleased to be working with SecureKey to make it easier for clients to do business online with the confidence that their security and privacy are protected,” said Todd Roberts, SVP, Innovation, CIBC. “As our clients increasingly embrace digital channels, we are committed to partnerships that enhance the digital ecosystem.”

“The key to successful adoption of online and mobile services in Canada rely upon the creation of an ecosystem that brings in the strongest capabilities of all participants to give customers choice, security and privacy with their Digital ID. SecureKey‘s system meets these requirements and Desjardins is proud to support the development of this innovative solution,” said Patrice Dagenais, Vice-President, Payment Services and Business Partnerships at Desjardins Group.

To learn more about SecureKey, please visit: www.securekey.com.

About SecureKey Technologies

SecureKey is a leading identity and authentication provider that simplifies consumer access to online services and applications. SecureKey enables next generation privacy-enhancing identity and authentication network for conveniently connecting people to critical online services using a digital credential they already have and trust. SecureKey is headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Boston and San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.securekey.com.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Kirk-Douglas

SecureKey Technologies
+1 905 251 6502
sarah.douglas@securekey.com

Matt Roth
Kaiser La Chance
+1 647 518 6754
matt.roth@kaiserlachance.com

Avalanche Technology Announces the Commencement of Volume Production of STT-MRAM on 300mm Wafers

October 6, 2016

Fremont, CA – October 20, 2016 – Avalanche Technology, Inc., has entered into a manufacturing agreement with Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation to begin production of it’s Spin Transfer Torque Magnetic RAM (STT-MRAM) on 300mm wafers at various advanced geometry nodes. Volume production is expected in early 2017 at Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation in Japan to address a wide range of applications for this disruptive non-volatile memory technology.

This partnership with Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation will help the adoption of perpendicular Magnetic Tunnel Junction (pMTJ)-based STT-MRAM and further validate the widely accepted industry belief that STT-MRAM is the memory technology of choice for a broad spectrum of applications.

“Avalanche is working on breakthrough memory products. As a result, we are able to address a very large non-volatile memory market with a wide range of requirements. STT-MRAM is an ideal solution for markets such as Storage, Automotive, IoT and embedded applications,” said Petro Estakhri, founder and CEO of Avalanche Technology.

“We are pleased to partner with Avalanche Technology on the production of pMTJ based STT-MRAM,” said Toshiyuki Yanase, Representative of Yamagata Technology Center of Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation. “Working with Avalanche Technology, we look forward to manufacturing MRAM products that meet current and future demands in the memory market.”

About Avalanche Technology

Avalanche Technology, headquartered in Fremont, California, is the world leader in STT-MRAM technology. Backed by 229 awarded patents in STT-MRAM technology, circuit, and system design, Avalanche’s STT-MRAM technology and products provide breakthrough speeds, unlimited endurance and non-volatility while reducing power and cost. With these attributes, Avalanche’s STT-MRAM technology will serve and exceed customers’ objectives as a replacement for SRAM, eFlash, and ROM in embedded applications, in addition to discrete SRAM, non-volatile SRAM, NOR and DRAM. Avalanche is currently sampling discrete parts up to 64Mbit to its customers and is now poised to ramp the first pMTJ-based MRAM memory in the industry to production in early 2017. Twitter: @followavalanche

ScribbleLive Acquires Linkdex; Bridging the Content Marketing and SEO Gap

August 23, 2016

Global Marketers Now Have an All-in-One Solution to Ensure the Right Content is Reaching the Right Audience at the Right Time.

Toronto, Ontario — August 23, 2016: ScribbleLive, a global leader in content marketing, announced today that it has acquired Linkdex, the Enterprise SEO Platform, in what is the first big organic search and content marketing software tie-up. With this acquisition, ScribbleLive adds another integral piece to their platform, helping marketers manage the complete lifecycle of their content.

Organic search is a key channel for consumers with an estimated 3.5 billion Google searches a day. Businesses serious about digital marketing and sales need to create the best content for their audience, while optimizing for impression and clicks. By providing an all-in-one platform to operationalize strategy, create beautiful content, target audiences, and measure impact, marketers will own the complete customer journey while driving consistent ROI. The convergence of content marketing and SEO technology brings marketing teams one step closer to becoming the most effective revenue drivers in their organization.

ScribbleLive combines predictive analytics with content planning, creation, and distribution technologies. Together with the vast amount of Linkdex data, which includes organic search performance data on billions of pages, a unique author database, and reporting and productivity tools, marketers will be getting the most out of their content marketing efforts.

This acquisition expands ScribbleLive’s global presence. Linkdex, which has been backed by global technology investor, Amadeus Capital Partners, since 2009, has also developed strong relationships with some of the world’s largest brands and agencies – making the company a powerful addition to ScribbleLive’s partner network.

“A great content marketing strategy ensures you’re found throughout the consumer journey. Organic search plays a big part in the journey for most digital consumers. There’s never been a more complete product suite to manage the plan, create, engage, and measure cycle. This offers a huge opportunity to companies wanting a marketing advantage.” Vince Mifsud, ScribbleLive CEO.

“There’s no denying the power of content marketing when attempting to engage, inform, or entertain.” said Mark Smith, CEO of Linkdex. “But without great SEO, compelling content can fail to reach its intended audience, while great SEO without the right content to support it creates a whole different set of challenges. By joining ScribbleLive we’re overcoming that operational disconnect, bringing the two disciplines together, and helping our customers ensure marketing success.”

“When we heard that Linkdex was joining forces with a serious player in the content marketing space we immediately got excited. SEO and content marketing technology under one roof just makes sense, and we can’t wait to see how this develops.”  Mario Ekkeshis, Head of Operations, iProspect.

Mark Smith, Linkdex’s CEO will continue to lead the division’s growth, and directly report to ScribbleLive CEO, Vince Mifsud in the role of Managing Director.

About ScribbleLive

ScribbleLive is the leading global content marketing solution provider. The company’s all-in-one SaaS solution combines predictive analytics with content planning, creation, and distribution technologies to deliver optimized business results. ScribbleLive is used by 1000+ brands including Bank of America, Bayer, Deutsche Telekom, Ferrari, Oracle, Red Bull and Yahoo! For more information, visit www.scribblelive.com

About Linkdex

Linkdex is the world’s leading SEO platform for in-house teams and their agencies. Hundreds of teams, covering thousands of brands, utilize the Linkdex Enterprise SEO platform across the globe, with the vast majority of the world’s largest advertising and SEO agencies using it as their primary solution. For more information, visit www.linkdex.com

About Amadeus Capital Partners

Amadeus Capital Partners is a global technology investor.  Since its inception in 1997, the firm has raised over $1bn for investment and backed more than 100 companies in the software, mobile, internet, cyber security and medical technology sectors. The investment team is based in India, South Africa, Sweden, UK and USA, has deep experience in technology and invests in high-growth companies from early stage to pre-IPO.  For more information, please visit www.amadeuscapital.com

Car dealer steers a new online course for sales

March 18, 2015

START-UP car dealer Rockar is looking to steer the sector in a new direction by setting up in a major shopping centre and using mobile payment technology to drive the operation.

Read more…

NAB Show Unveils First Ten Startups Selected to Participate in 2nd Annual Sprockit Program

February 10, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — NAB Show organizers today announced the first round of startups selected to participate in SPROCKIT 2014. These startup companies will collaborate with and present before influencers and decision-makers in media and entertainment at the 2014 NAB Show, the world’s leading convention for professionals who create, manage and distribute entertainment across all media platforms, scheduled for April 5-10 2014 in Las Vegas.

Read more…

Cognitive Networks Receives U.S. Patent for Core Automatic Content Recognition Technology

December 3, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 03, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Cognitive Networks, a market leading provider of real-time services that power Enhanced TV on Smart TVs, today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued the company patent number 8,595,781 for its Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology. Cognitive Networks’ ACR technology enables the delivery of a robust “Enhanced TV” experience for TV viewers, enabling contextually-related content to be displayed on Smart TVs in synchronization with its related television programming, enriching the viewing experience through engaging viewing capabilities. The patent award follows the launch of the company’s ENGAGE(TM) API and the news that LG Electronics will integrate ACR technology within its Smart TV platform enabling an enhanced TV experience. Read more…

Canadian Banks Manage Customers’ Digital Personas; U.S. Banks Could Follow

December 2, 2013

What if banks could act as digital gatekeepers, protecting all their customers’ pursuits on the web? Instead of each consumer having 100 sets of user names and passwords to remember for all the websites he accesses for work and personal reasons, he could have just one, managed by his bank. It’s a concept we’ve written about many times, but so far we’ve struggled to see how the industry could coalesce around one technology, one standard and one centralized hub for identity data.

A massive yet little-publicized project in Canada is essentially creating a bank-managed single sign-on (user name and password) for all Canadians to access the banking and government websites they use. It shows a path U.S. banks could follow. In fact, a parallel project has already been set in motion by the U.S. Postal Service and U.S. banks are encouraged to join. Read more…

Addvocate Closes Multiple Enterprise Deals, Adds Key Executives

November 6, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — Addvocate, the company turning employees into brand advocates, today announced significant enterprise traction and the addition of three new executives to its rapidly expanding team.

Since closing its Series A round led by Rogers Venture Partners earlier this year, Addvocate has signed more than 600 customers, including ExactTarget, VerticalResponse, UBM, WCG, VCE, MindJet and BazaarVoice. Read more…