In what represents one of the metro’s most notable exits in the last decade, Kansas City-based startup EyeVerify announced Tuesday that it has been acquired.
Ant Financial — the payments affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding — purchased EyeVerify for more than $100 million, according to an unnamed local source familiar with the deal.
Ant Financial started using EyeVerify’s biometric security tool in early 2016. Valued at about $60 billion, Ant Financial boasts about 450 million customers, offering services such as online payments, peer-to-peer lending, wealth management and more, Bloomberg reports.
Led by CEO Toby Rush, EyeVerify created the “EyePrint ID,” which transforms a selfie of a user’s eye into a biometric security key. It’s used by millions of people around the world to access mobile banking or other secured information.
Founded in 2012, EyeVerify has 35 staffers, has raised $13 million to date and was named a Top 10 Startup to Watch in 2016 by Startland News.
Now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ant Financial Services Group, EyeVerify plans to stay in Kansas City after the deal, according to the firm. Current employees and the executive management team will also remain with the firm.
The exit is an unequivocal win for Kansas City. Not only will founding team members likely see a nice payout, but so too will EyeVerify’s local investors. Local investors in EyeVerify include Mid-America Angels, Women’s Capital Connection, Think Big Partners, Flyover Capital, Sprint and other private investors.
“Mid-America Angels and the Women’s Capital Connection are proud to have identified EyeVerify as a promising business opportunity and participated in this deal from its earliest stages,” a spokeswoman with MAA said. “We congratulate Toby and his team on years of hard work, and look forward to celebrating this timely victory for Kansas City during Techweek.”
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