ShoCard: Blockchain Plus Identity Management Equals Cybersecurity
Two years ago, startup ShoCard secured $1.5 million in seed funding based on a single but provocative identity management idea: Prove it.
“As more and more of our activities tie into the cloud, proving your identity has become an everyday task,” Jeff Weitzman, a ShoCard co-founder who’s no longer with the company, told attendees at the May, 2015 TechCrunch Startup Battlefield competition in New York. “We need something as simple for consumers to understand and use as showing their driver’s license..[yet] something so secure a bank can rely on it,” he said.
Hence the developer’s eponymous launch product, a virtual identity card platform that consumers use through a mobile app, built on top of the public blockchain data layer. Its B2B use cases, which initially were for bank and credit card identification processes, have since widened to credit-reporting companies, airlines and companies requiring user logins for websites and apps.
ShoCard Raises Venture Funding
Now ShoCard has set its sights on bigger prizes, garnering $4 million in venture funding to steer its new ShoBadge platform to enterprises. This Series A capital infusion was led by existing investors Morado and AME Cloud Ventures, with new backers Storm Ventures, Danhua Capital, Correlation Ventures, Recruit Strategic Partners and Robert Tinker, founder and former CEO of MobileIron.
With ShoBadge, employee ID information is stored encrypted on the employee’s mobile device, then verified through the blockchain, creating user-centric identity storage and paving the way toward a Bring Your Own Identity (BYOID) policy, the company said.
The idea is to eliminate easily compromised usernames and passwords traditionally used to gain access to the network and data, instead using a blockchain-based digital identity verification and authentication process.
“Eliminating usernames and passwords at the enterprise level will close the security gap in organizations’ cyber defenses,” Armin Ebrahimi, ShoCard founder and CEO said. “Large databases filled with this sensitive information will no longer be necessary, and weak passwords, easily exploited by hackers, will no longer exist.”
ShoCard: Partner Opportunities?
The ShoBadge platform, which is intended to complement an existing single sign-on process, extends beyond employee ID management to partners, sales channels, contractors and third-parties needing access to an enterprise’s systems.
It’s here where partners may have a play, depending, of course, on ShoCard’s interest in broadening the reach of its platform beyond what it can touch on its own. In that regard, the company may have somewhat of a ready-made template. Late last year, IBM launched a Blockchain partner ecosystem that includes systems integrators, independent software vendors and enterprise developers.
IBM’s thinking is to accelerate the goal of Blockchain networks, theoretically driving more value as each new Blockchain partner or service joins the ecosystem.
It’s early but there’s promise for partners. ShoCard’s VC investors may have a similar inkling.