Belfast biometric security firm B-Secur raises £4m

5 Mar 2019

From left: Jayne Brady, Kernel Capital; Alan Foreman, B-Secur; and Andrew Sloane, ADV. Image: B-Secur

Stronger vehicle security may be just a heartbeat away.

B-Secur, a Belfast start-up that uses electrocardiogram (ECG) readings (heart rhythms) for cybersecurity, has just raised £4m in follow-on funding.

This second round of investment follows on from a £3.5m fundraising in 2017, and comes from a syndicate of Irish and UK investors including Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV) and Kernel Capital, manager of the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Funds, both of which supported B-Secur’s previous funding round.

‘Heartkey’s algorithms offer data protection for devices and vehicles’

B-Secur, a previous Start-up of the Week, now employs more than 35 staff in its Belfast headquarters. It has developed technology to harness the unique electrical signal of an individual’s heartbeat as a means of personal authentication.

Driving to the heart of security

B-Secur launched its Heartkey brand at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Heartkey combines unique user identification with advanced physiological monitoring for health and wellness purposes, including medical-grade heart rate, stress and fatigue monitoring, which can be applied to everyday situations such as driving a car or for real-time health monitoring in the home.

The Belfast firm is now partnering with some of the world’s top motoring manufacturers, global wearable and fitness tracker technology firms, and leading semiconductor manufacturers, to embed Heartkey into multiple everyday technologies and wearables.

“Heartkey’s algorithms offer data protection for devices and vehicles,” said CEO Alan Foreman. “It also offers the added benefit of providing insights into an individual’s physical wellbeing, which enables a wide range of life-enhancing or potentially life-saving benefits. We’re at a really exciting stage for the business; we have forged very significant links with big-name partners who recognise our technology’s value and importance to their own product development, and this investment will allow us to continue driving our ambitions for B-Secur forward.”

“When everyday wearables become medical-grade devices, the importance of assuring who can access sensitive information is of the greatest importance,” explained ADV investment lead Tong Gu.

“B-Secur’s Heartkey software enables any OEM to achieve near-medical-grade heart monitoring and tracking capability coupled with unique authentication. One product roadmap with two distinct solutions, all derived from one heartbeat. We’re backing B-Secur for the second time because we truly believe in the product vision and the team.”

The investment comes just weeks after B-Secur took centre stage at CES, one of the world’s biggest consumer technology events.

“Since our first investment with B-Secur, we have been impressed by the drive and determination of the management team and their highly skilled technical experts, who have worked hard to elevate this technology and to pair it with partners and applications, which we firmly believe will change how we live and work,” said Kernel Capital’s Jayne Brady.

“They are at an exciting stage and we are very proud to support them in taking their vision forward on a global scale.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years