Interview with Michael DePasquale, CEO, BIO-key
fB: Let’s start with the really big news, you announced on November 11 your $3.7 million private placement can you please tell us about this and what the funds will be used for?
B: Thank you Peter. Yes we raised an additional $3.7 million dollars last month, to fund our growth initiatives. We are at the stage right now where our technology is fundamentally complete and ready to deploy in both mobility and in the traditional markets that we have been serving, but we need to expand our reach in sales and marketing. We need to continue to invest in R&D in the mobility space to address the new opportunities that are going to present themselves as more and more devices; smartphones, tablets and other intermediary devices hit the market with finger scanning capabilities. So we raised this money to put ourselves in a position to rapidly grow our business in 2014 and 2015.
fB: Well congratulations on that! What do you expect to see over the next six months in the industry as things really start to heat up?
B: Well I think what you are going to see is continued enhancements in visibility about biometrics as more and more devices hit the market that have biometric capability. We will see the use of that biometric for not just point applications but consumers in particular are going to want to use biometric capabilities for access to many social media and banking and finance applications. They are going to want to eliminate their passwords, PINS, tokens and cards. Now it is interesting that the Gartner conference was held this week and Gartner made some very basic assumptions. One of the basic assumptions was that 30% of all enterprises, for both internal purposes as well as for consumer access, will be utilizing biometric authentication by the year 2015 up from 5% today. When you think about the number of devices that will be available with fingerprint capability, what it says is that about a third of the population in our country and around the globe are going to begin to utilize biometrics for access to all kinds of information including payments. So that is significant.
fB: It certainly is. You recently released your Q3 earnings report last week. Could you please review that with us?
B: I think our Q3 report was mediocre at best. Our revenue was up a bit from the same period in 2012 but not where we would like to see it. As I mentioned we have many strategic initiatives in play but monetizing those and tactically taking advantage of those is going to take a little bit of time. We are very optimistic about the market and the business and our investors, customers and partners are as well. So you will hear more from us over time and again hopefully we are going to be able to monetize our marquis relationships as we move into 2014 and beyond.
fB: Well we are certainly seeing that activity Mike with our webinars and our events etc. and who is actually attending has significantly changed in this past year actually to include a lot of end users in the financial segment and health care segment, so it is quite an interesting shift. Now you also just established a partnership with AMD, can you tell us how that will work?
B: Yes we made that announcement a couple of weeks ago and that is one of the strategic initiatives that I had indicated was in motion. AMD as you know sells processor and other types of chips to OEM’s like Dell and HP and Lenovo and they are looking to integrate a core biometric capability right at the circuit level. That will enable the device interoperability for fingerprint sensors across the platform and they have chosen our biometric software to enable that. So that is a very important relationship for us, one that we think has tremendous potential going forward especially as we get into the second half of 2014. But it is something that can also create a standard for the finger sensor manufacturers to begin to operate against. So for this technology to become ubiquitous, meaning for it to be used by all types of stakeholders and consumers, it needs to be interoperable. Proprietary systems can only travel so far. If we are going to see for example, electronic payments and electronic banking become a standard over time on mobility devices we have to have interoperability. And that is what we provide, that is what we bring to the table, that is our secret sauce in the whole ecosystem and that is what AMD and BIO-key will be working on going forward.
fB: Thank you Mike very much for taking the time to update us on a couple of great weeks for your company and look forward to hearing more news especially as this industry starts to ramp up over the next 12-24 months.
B: Great thank you Peter.