Zamna’s blockchain-powered identity verification for airports raises $5m

28 Oct 2019

Image: © James Steidl/

The blockchain-powered data verification platform verifies and connects passenger data sets siloed between airlines, governments and security agencies to reduce the need for security checks.

Zamna, the start-up formerly known as VChain Technology, announced this morning (28 October) that it has raised $5m to enhance and automate airport security checks.

The round was led by LocalGlobe and Oxford Capital, with additional participation from Seedcamp, the London Co-Investment Fund, Telefónica and airline group IAG. There was also support from angel investors.

The start-up has developed a software that instantly verifies passenger data to reduce the need for manual document checks in airports.

The blockchain-powered data verification platform verifies and connects the passenger data sets currently siloed between airlines, governments and security agencies, reducing the need for checks by up to 90pc.

A spokesperson for Zamna said: “The aspiration is that, as more passenger identities are verified digitally over time and shared securely between parties, the airport security process will become automated and passengers will be able to travel through the airport without needing any physical documentation or repeated ID checks.”

How it works

According to Zamna, the software is built on triple-patented privacy-by-design proprietary algorithms designed to check the accuracy of advance passenger information or biometric data, without having to share any of that data with third parties.

The company said: “Zamna allows airlines, airports and governments to access a secure, immutable and distributed network of validations. Zamna’s technology can be used by any of these parties to validate passengers biographic and biometric data, using cryptographically sound ‘signals’ to check you are who you say you are.”

Irra Ariella Khi, co-founder and CEO of Zamna, said: “We know that currently airlines are not able to meet the legal requirement of providing accurate data to governments around the world.

“Both parties have to spend a huge amount of time and resource at the end of a journey to confirm if a passenger should be allowed into a country, or sent back if access is denied. In 2019, these decisions should be securely automated and informed by high integrity data – long before the journey even begins.”

Ariella Khi added: “For airport security to successfully become frictionless through biometric capabilities, the first step is to have access to 100pc accurate and trustworthy passenger data.

“Zamna is delivering on this – built on a ‘privacy by design’ framework, it ensures that airlines and governments get accurate, trustworthy data in advance of a passenger travelling, enabling the traveller to get through the airport without multiple identity checks.”

Funding plans

The funding will be used to roll out Zamna’s proprietary advance passenger information validation platform for biographic and biometric data, which is already being deployed by major airlines as well as immigration authorities.

As well as announcing the funding, the company confirmed that IAG is now one of its commercial clients. Zamna also recently started working with Emirates and the UAE’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners (GDRFA) to deliver a seamless check-in and transit experience for passengers travelling through Emirates airports.

Remus Brett, partner at LocalGlobe, said: “The team at Zamna has built a platform that will play a major part in the future of travel and aviation security.

“With passenger numbers expected to double in the next 20 years, new technology-driven solutions are the only way airlines airports and governments will be able to cope. We’re delighted to be working with the Zamna team and believe they can play a key role in addressing these challenges.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic