Growthgate-backed IrisGuard Closes its Latest Funding Round
IrisGuard, the UK-based pioneer in Iris Recognition Technology (IRT) payment solutions, today announced an investment from Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
IrisGuard was founded in 2001 by its current CEO Imad Malhas and Rudain and Karim Kawar. Growthgate invested back in 2010, through an injection of growth equity capital, at a time when IrisGuard had limited country coverage and scope of services, which were essentially focused on security and credentialing features.
Today, IrisGuard serves millions of unbanked customers through its innovative EyePay® Platform, used by the United Nations and government aid agencies around the world. These programs rely on IrisGuard for the delivery of financial aid, by providing beneficiaries with cash based transfers and other assistance using iris recognition.
IrisGuard’s ground-breaking technology is especially suited to individuals with no bank accounts, such as migrant workers, displaced persons, refugees, natural disaster victims, and social welfare recipients. IrisGuard allows such individuals to access cash withdrawals, food vouchers, bank wires and money transfers using solely their eyes for identity verification and ensuring a fully secure transaction. These solutions significantly reduce levels of fraud, making sure humanitarian aid reaches its intended recipient.
The EyePay® Platform is also blockchain-ready, with IrisGuard working in partnership with the United Nations to enable goods to be purchased using iris recognition and settled directly on the blockchain. This project is the largest private fork of the Ethereum blockchain implementation to date for humanitarian assistance. Authenticating the last mile is achieved through an iris recognition system designed by IrisGuard, where the eye becomes the key that cannot be lost, stolen, forged, copied, or forgotten.
“We are very excited about the investment from Goldman Sachs, with their relevant experience in innovative and leading FinTech companies. This is also a tribute to IrisGuard’s pioneering EyePay® Platform and our strong growth prospects. The investment is well timed as IrisGuard expands its merchant network services into new territories around the world.” commented CEO Imad Malhas.
About IrisGuard Inc.
Established in 2001, IrisGuard is a leading provider of iris recognition technology, used in a variety of payment and other applications and serving the banking, humanitarian relief and homeland security markets. IrisGuard’s patented technology includes its EyeBank®, EyeCloud®, EyePay® and EyeCash® solutions, plus a variety of world-leading identity applications designed to deliver cardless cash withdrawals on ATMs, remittances and food voucher replacements.
Growthgate is a GCC-based PE firm that focuses on the middle-market corporate segment and follows a ‘buy-and-build’ investment strategy. The firm specializes in buying into companies with scalable business models, and assist owners/managers in expanding capacity and footprint though M&As and other strategic initiatives. Growthgate’s current investments span from waste management & environmental services, to construction & building materials, modern retailing, food & consumables, biometrics & technology; and computer animation & themed entertainment.
Growthgate was established in late 2007. Founders include a select group of State-owned banks, public pension funds, and single-family offices from around the Middle East. Growthgate has conducted, since inception, four liquidity events through IPOs and trade sales. As of Q1 2017, Growthgate recorded a Net Assets Value of $450m and circa $1.8bln of Assets-under-Monitoring.