Heartbeat authentication firm Bionym raises $14 million

Heartbeat authentication firm Bionym raises $14 million

Heartbeat authentication firm Bionym has raised $14 million on the back of a pre-launch order book for 10,000 of its wearable bracelets.

The latest funding round for the Canadian startup included high-profile support from Relay Ventures, MasterCard, Export Development Canada, Ignition Partners and Salesforce Ventures.

The Nymi bracelet is promising to make passwords, keys and wallets relics of the past by authenticating users through their heartbeat.

The Nymi bracelet has an embedded sensor which recognises the wearer's unique electrocardiogram (ECG) and communicates their identity to their devices - be that their computer, car or TV - using Bluetooth.

The system offers three-factor security because it requires a personalised bracelet, the owner's heartbeat and a smartphone registered to the Nymi app.

Karl Martin, CEO and founder of Bionym, says: "We're establishing the Nymi as the de facto platform for persistent, trusted identity, and this round of financing is providing us with the resources needed to bring the platform to market."

In November, the firm released its SDK documentation and online forums to a 6000-strong developer community. The first Nymis are expected to roll off the production line later this year

Comments: (3)

Vernon Crabtree
Vernon Crabtree - My comments are my own - Utrecht 24 September, 2014, 13:041 like 1 like

I like the concept. 

I would like to see it implemented as one of several choices that a consumer gets to identify themselves.  I.e. the end user should be able to decide for themselves what sort of key they lock their own stuff up with.


One anomaly here: 3 factor?  Lets count the factors:

  - Something you are: your heartbeat +1

  - Something you have: the bracelet +1

  - Something ELSE you have: your mobile-phone with app = +0 !

  - Something you know: ? = 0

I only count 2 factors.  Unless the app forces you to sign on with a password - but I thought they are "promising" to get rid of passwords.

If the phone is used as a 'token', the problem of authenticating the phone (an inherintly unsafe device) remains.  But there are other solutions to this problem.


Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - SME - Fintech startups (APAC and Africa) - India 24 September, 2014, 15:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Very interesting biometric device for authentication.

@Vernon - Thanks for raising valid reason. I went through features of Nymi and came to know that apart from registereing heartbeat ( Heart ID ) to make belt personalised for your authentication there is registration process on device which need to authenticate Nymi with AAD. Please look at the explanation from Nymi's features.


The Nymi functions on a 3-factor security system. To take control of your identity you must have your Nymi, your unique heartbeat and an Authorized Authentication Device (AAD), which would be a smartphone or device registered with our app. The Nymi is also built upon the principles of Privacy by Design, which means that only you control and access your identity and personal information.


So holding wrist band and registereing heart beat is not enough for authentication.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 24 September, 2014, 16:49Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Yet another solution seeking a problem and, that too, in a very contrived and non-scaleable manner. At least I hope it has FDA approval. The last thing you want is a slightly erratic heartbeat - believe me, it happens more often than believed - causing authentication to fail, which leads to car door not opening, which aggravates the heartbeat problem even further.


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