AI-powered biometric recognition company Element lands $12M

By Laura Lovett
03:43 pm

Today, artificial intelligence-powered mobile biometric recognition company Element landed $12 million in a Series A funding round led by PTB Ventures and GDP Ventures, with additional participation from a number of large banks and telecom carriers in South East Asia. 

“At Element, our mission is to deliver identity to the billions who need it, to help build more efficient and inclusive societies. The opportunity of digital transformation across Asia and Africa could not be more exciting,” Element Inc cofounder and CEO Adam Perold said in a statement. “We are humbled to join hands with this world-class group of partners.”

The startup makes a mobile-based software platform used for biometric identity. Users can be offline and use any type of smartphone or tablet to access the service. The platform uses facial, palm, and fingerprint recognition software to identify individuals. 

Right now the technology is being used to build immunization platforms, enable connected diagnostic, provide a digital identity resource for healthcare providers, and empower access to financial services, according to a statement. 

The company is focusing on Asian and African markets. 

“Identity inclusion is a precursor to financial and health inclusion,” David Fields, managing partner of PTB Ventures, said in a statement. “Element is a game-changer in turning any mobile device into an access point for identity. With key partners spanning the banking, healthcare, and telecom sectors, we believe that Element has the potential to transform the way billions of people access the essential services that are core to everyday life. It’s a privilege to be working with an AI company tackling social problems that build both human and financial capital on a global scale.”

Currently the company is working with Global Good, a collaboration between Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures, to build an infant biometrics platform. This platform will also run even if the smartphone is offline.

An informational video produced by Element explains that when children don’t have formal identifications, it can be tough to track health records. But the company is working on this biometric technology for infants that would make it easier to identify children and follow their care. 

Element is working with partners in Cambodia and Bangladesh to follow 8,000 infants over time and determine what biometric is most suitable for children. The company aims to make a product that is non-touch and can run on any mobile device — even without connectivity. 

The company was founded by Adam Perold and Yan LeCun, the latter of whom is currently the chief AI scientist at Facebook and a professor at NYU. 

“This is a model case of product-market-fit in emerging Asia, and a core strategic alignment with the partnerships behind Maloekoe Ventures,” Adrien Gheur, managing partner at Maloekoe Ventures, said in a statement. “The problems that Element is solving have fundamental importance to the banking, healthcare, and telecom industries of the region, at a time of terrific growth and opportunity.”


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