Finger, meet face
TORONTO--Bioscrypt, an enterprise-level access control manufacturer, announced this week an agreement to acquire A4Vision, a manufacturer of 3D facial imaging identification systems. A4 stockholders will receive nine million shares of Bioscrypt, which closed at $.98 on the day of the announcement. In addition, investors associated with A4, including Menlo Ventures, In-Q-Tel and Motorola Ventures, agreed to invest between $6 million and $8 million in newly issued Bioscrypt common shares and warrants to purchase Bioscrypt shares.
While some brand names may remain, A4Vision will disappear as a company name and merge with Bioscrypt's U.S. subsidiary. A4 chief executive officer Grant Evans and Menlo Ventures partner Douglas Carlisle will join Bioscrypt's board of directors.
"They're a pioneer in 3D facial recognition technology," said Bioscrypt chief technology officer Colin Soutar. "And also from a capital market investment, we see this as an interesting development to bring on established investors." He noted that 30 percent of the company will now be owned by institutional investors.
Soutar believes the combination of Bioscrypt's fingerprint technology and A4's facial recognition represents a unique product offering, particularly in converging physical and logical access throughout an enterprise.
Evans said Bioscrypt's work in network security, particularly, would open up new markets for A4Vision. He believed the combination of the two companies would be a benefit to integrators, as well. "A lot of the systems integrators are common to both companies," Evans said. "It gives them significant leverage to use more cohesive marketing programs and customer delivery systems ... It simplifies their life to deal with one company instead of two that are competing in some areas."
Soutar agreed. "Part of the success of Bioscrypt is that the technologies are really simple replacements for existing access control components already in place," he said. "Now an installer can use 3D face on one door, fingerprint on another door, a smart card at a third, they can mix and match them," since they all work on the Wiegand protocol. "Once you've mastered the output of the data, it's a simple plug-and-play and you're off."
Evans and Soutar both felt the combined company could take advantage of nascent e-passport programs around the world. "The market has been slow to move," said Evans. "We're in the Russian e-passport program; they're going enroll 250 million people in that system. The new opportunities will be in the last stage of the process, where we start delivering authentication at different locations, including border crossings, ports and the like ... There are literally tens of thousands of locations."