There’s money to be made in the wearables sector, and not just for Apple: Toronto firm Bionym today announced it had raised US$14 million in Series A funding. The investment round was led by Ignition Partners and Relay Ventures, and included Salesforce Ventures, the corporate investment arm of the ecommerce giant.
Bionym and Salesforce aren’t strangers: earlier this year the cloud-based platform launched Salesforce Wear, an open-source toolkit for wearables that incorporates Bionym’s Nymi. The Nymi uses the wearer’s pulse to establish their identity, making it a more secure means of verification than passwords or access cards.
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“This is as much a platform for business applications, for new uses, for productivity as the smartphone was,” noted Salesforce Senior Vice-President of Emerging Technologies Daniel Dale noted at the Salesforce Wear launch.
The Nymi was originally targeted at consumers, according to Bionym President Andrew D’Souza:
We’re still doing a lot of work in the consumer space. We thought we were going to go completely consumer—that had been our plan from the beginning—before going enterprise. But as soon as we launched the Nymi product last September, we had overwhelming interest from enterprise. At a certain point you have to listen to what the market is telling you. We’re still learning exactly who our first customer is, what those use-cases are. but the workplace-enterprise use case is certainly quite high on the list of things we’re exploring.
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Bionym believes there’s a market for persistent, trusted identity products—a system that allows Nymi wearers to access digital and physical infrastructure without having to enter passwords or flash keycards. It’s part of the emerging Internet of Things, where a network of sensors and devices interact seamlessly to remove various pain points of day-to-day existence.
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The launch of the Apple Watch and Apple Pay have reinforced the perception that wearables may well be the future of e-commerce. Salesforce’s investment in Bionym would appear to signal a doubling-down on that bet.