In typing we trust: behavioral biometrics made in Romania
At a time when almost everything can be done on the Internet, keeping the online data safe is of the utmost importance. Romanian startup TypingDNA developed a security solution that uses typing habits for online users' identification. Their solution attracted two large rounds of financing already. Romania-Insider.com has talked to Typing DNA about their typing biometrics technology, future plans, and what industries are expected to embrace behavioral biometrics first.
Launched in 2016, TypingDNA offers an artificial intelligence-based solution that recognizes users by the way they type on their keyboards. The local company has continued to grow and expand by attracting investors and continuously increasing the number of users.
First, the company raised a USD 1.5 million Seed financing led by GapMinder - which invested USD 1.2 million - with the participation of other investors from the United States, Great Britain, and Romania. Then, in January this year, TypingDNA raised USD 7 million in a Series A financing round led by Gradient Ventures, Google's AI-focused venture fund. Venture capital funds GapMinder Ventures, Techstars Ventures, and Credo Ventures also participated in this new round.
Raul Popa, CEO, the mastermind behind the TypingDNA project (opening picture, left), has always been passionate about sociology, human traits, and tech development. Initially, only as a vehicle to experiment with psychological characteristics in human behavior, Raul realized the technology he developed could be used to identify typing patterns and authenticate online users.
This was when his co-founder, Cristian Tamaș (now CMO; opening picture, middle), joined him on the quest to innovating authentication and took over all marketing-related activities. Attracting early adopters into using TypingDNA's prodigious technology was among their first challenges. The company's first angel investor was Adrian Gheară, who is now Operations Advisor (opening picture, right).
What is TypingDNA, and how does it work? How is it different from other digital security solutions?
TypingDNA is a behavioral biometrics company that protects online users based on how they type on their keyboards. Specifically, each individual has a different typing pattern, and our technology can authenticate users after analyzing the way they interact with existing keyboards on devices, on desktop and mobile alike.
A differentiator on the behavioral biometrics market is the technology that expands the limited biometric authentication options, not requiring specialized sensors or advanced hardware. TypingDNA's typing biometrics authentication solution stands out by offering 99% accuracy rates and working with just two previous enrollment samples.
The TypingDNA Authentication API was launched in 2016, but since then, a lot has changed. We have continuously improved our proprietary technology along with the algorithms.
We serve clients from all over the world, and millions of users currently use TypingDNA's proprietary technology.
What were the initial development costs, and how did you cover them?
Back in the early days, we went through a more delicate period and tried to self sustain the business until the first angel investors came to aid.
How did you invest the money you received in the first round of financing, and what are your plans for the future?
We focused on creating core teams across all departments in our company. The headcount increased while adding experienced and valuable members centered around development, marketing, sales, and operational. We also created a sales hub in North America to be able to serve US clients faster while building strong partnerships in the region.
How do you define/measure the success of your business?
We are innovating the field of authentication, and more and more clients from across the globe use our technology. While this is great and a significant milestone for any company, we aim to create specific resources so our technology can be integrated into any software, industry, and use case agnostic. We know for sure that communication is changing, and humans will continue to shift from spoken to written communication more and more. We want to better this interaction, ensure security, and facilitate a seamless experience for as many users.
How soon do you expect this new way of authentication to become the new norm in terms of digital security?
The future is now. Since typing is part of our day-to-day device interaction, typing biometrics is ready to be implemented as we speak. More and more companies are seeking to integrate behavioral biometrics into their authentication solutions. We enable a smooth and rapid deployment and expect this technology to grow along with the latest Strong Customer Authentication norms approved by the European Banking Authority. Although the banking sector might be the opening number for typing biometrics authentication, soon, the technology will be used in many scenarios, not only digital security. So, in about five years, we estimate exponential growth ranging from governmental institutions to the health care industry.
What are the most frequent mistakes Internet users make when choosing their passwords? What should they do to stay safe?
We strongly recommend adopting 2-factor authentication whenever possible. Not only can companies opt for such a method, but also individuals using various services like email or other internet-based applications.
TypingDNA was one of the winners of the 2019 Romania Insider Awards. The company received the Best Startup award powered by Banca Transilvania at the gala organized in October 2019.