Authenteq, the Icelandic startup, was selected by CTIA Innovation Council Investor Advisors as one of the five most forward-thinking, innovative companies worldwide in the category of identity management.
Trusted. Authentic. Identity. These words describe the Icelandic startup Authenteq. Their great vision and innovative technology, that secures interaction between users of sharing economy and eliminate possible deception, made them a part of the CTIA Startup Lab Finalists 2015.
“We are very proud to be acknowledged as one of the most innovative seed-stage companies in mobile technology and it is a great opportunity for us to connect with the Council’s mobile industry leaders,” says Kari Thor Runarsson, CEO and founder of Authenteq.
Authenteq – Automatic Identity Verification
Authenteq is a networked automatic identity verification platform. They want to promote the use of trusted identity online. With an Authenteq ID, marketplaces increase trust and transparency in communications and transactions between users. They points out that it is not always a matter of knowing the person on the other side of the transaction, but trusting them.
“We are pioneering ways to use a trusted identity online to increase the trust and transparency between people when interacting online. We don’t think it’s acceptable that people can do whatever they want when online and hide behind anonymity when it comes to P2P interactions,” says Kari Thor Runarsson.
Authenteq works on just about any type of marketplace, website, or online community and can be installed either with APIs or by using their plugin. One of the co-founders has experience in developing electronic ID for governments, and it is that kind of high quality Authenteq wants to provide to regular people and companies. By connecting the online and offline versions of identity verification, Authenteq creates an identity that can be used on many different websites. They ensure that the person that signs up for the ID is actually the person signing up. This is done by adding multiple elements of identity to each person’s Authenteq ID.
Authenteq emphasizes that all the data that is provided during the verification process is not saved directly, but encrypted and cannot be reversed engineered. This is done because people don’t like the idea of someone having access to their personal information.
Travel frustrations kick-started the idea
18 months ago Kari was traveling and rented a car. There was s scratch on the car, which he knew when he rented it. When he wanted to return the car to get his security deposit it was a very long process, because the rental agency claimed that it had happened during his rental period. Even a photo of the car without the scratch wouldn’t have changed anything as a photo is so easily changed now a days. Kari got the deposit back after a long time. The process got Kari thinking how strange it was that a photo, which once was a proof, now was something that was so easily manipulated. This kick-started the idea behind Authenteq version 1, which was a tamperproof photo taking app that is still the core of the Authenteq app.
Challenges occur daily
As a startup you encounter challenges everyday, but it isn’t always product and service development that lead to the most stress. One of the biggest challenges Authenteq faces is funding. They are still in development, and therefore they need to make the investors believe in their vision. They have 60 seconds to position themselves and convince the investors that their idea is the best. During the past 18 months, Authenteq has received 180.000 dollars in seed money and currently they are looking for a larger seed round.
Who is Authenteq?
Authenteq consists of two men, who are very passionate about the startup world.
Kari Thor Runarsson, CEO and Co-founder, has a Master’s in Marketing. He has always been very tech focused. In 2008, during the financial collapse, he lost his job, which woke up his passion for entrepreneurship. He wanted to become his own boss. Together with a programmer, he started with his own idea. After some time getting to know the startup scene, he and another startup merged together and created CLARA. It became one of the most famous startup exit in Iceland, because it was sold to a Silicon Valley company after the financial crisis and gave hope to the Icelandic startup scene.
Runar Karlsson, CSO and Co-funder, has decades of experience of IT security and ID implementation in two countries and makes sure that Authenteq’s products are living up to international standards.
Together Kari and Runar have started Authenteq and with a mutual passion they are working hard for making the company a success.
Las Vegas was a huge honor
Being picked as a part of the CTIA Startup Lab Finalists 2015 gave Authenteq the chance to go to Las Vegas and pitched their idea on stage.
“The companies that were selected in the final in our group, were all further along in the life-cycle then us, some with $13M and $18M in investments. So it was a huge honor for us, such a small startup with a product still in development to be selected. But I think it also shows the potential of what we are building.”
After Authenteq pitched their idea they received feedback and got the chance to meet with potential investors. They talked to a number of industry (mobile tech) related people, such as the CEO of Electronic Transactions Association. They also met high-level executives, such as the VP of Innovation at Samsung, Apple, Facebook, AT&T as well as some VC meetings.
The entire trip was a huge honor, and Authenteq saw it as an opportunity to create a larger network and opening doors. Kari points out that one thing that he noticed was the huge difference between the US and the European Startup Scene. The questions they received were very different than the ones they received in Europe, and it opened an entirely new way of thinking to them.
Authenteq is still in development and is only a few weeks away from launch. This Icelandic startup is a new strong competitor to the startup environment.