In April 2010, Forbes.com did a piece on Hector Hoyos’s quest for the perfect biometric security solution.
After a string of entrepreneurial successes, Hoyos founded Global Rainmakers with help from scientist Keith Hanna. The Global Rainmakers team created an iris scanner, the EyeSwipe Mini, that could grab a reading from a foot away in less than one second.
At the time, other iris scanning cameras required people to press their faces against a rubber viewfinder. Getting an iris image too about 20 seconds, and cameras with scanning equipment cost around $10,000. The EyeSwipe Mini cost around $50.
At first, Hoyos pitched his EyeSwipe to Bank of America, but they wouldn’t buy in unless they got an ownership stake in Global Rainmakers’ intellectual property. Hoyos eventually compromised with BoA, but the experience taught him the importance of creating an agnostic scanning system that could blend in with any technology, not just Bank of America’s.
He also tried partnering with camera manufacturers, but he found that they were unwilling to drop their $10,000 price tags.
Nearly four years after that interview, Hoyos has launched Hoyos Labs, a digital infrastructure security company. The company’s research and development division operates from the Cambridge Innovation Center on the MIT campus.
With $10 million in funding, Hoyos has developed an end-to-end authentication solution that incorporates biometrics. The multi-biometric solution recognizes a combination of the iris, the periocular region and the face. The platform-agnostic technology can distinguish between filmed images and live images, which makes the solution more difficult to hack.
The biometric scanner lives on a person’s smartphone. The scan interacts with middleware and is then sent to a company’s back-end database for authentication. Hoyos envisions the system providing access to any company intranet or website. He also sees the scanner working for anything that opens and closes, from car doors to corporate entrances.
In the Forbes interview, Hoyos told reporter Christopher Steiner that he’d gone all in on his biometric investments. “I don’t have anything left to mortgage,” he told Steiner in 2010.
Thanks to the new round of funding and the MIT partnership, Hoyos’s faith in affordable biometrics may actually pay off.