FireID, the Stellenbosch-based developer of the world's first universal personal authenticator, has entered the US market with a bang.
The company, which delivers one-time passwords via a user's cellphone, recently launched its US presence at the RSA Security Conference, the world's largest, in San Francisco. It was one of 400 exhibitors, with others including RSA, ESET, Verisign, Vasco, OATH, Google, Microsoft and IBM.
"We had meetings with all of them and, despite being newcomers and not yet represented in the US, we could see how well timed the release of FireID into the US was," says FireID CEO Jenny Dugmore.
FireID is the first company in the world to bring a fully functional product to market which satisfies the needs of users across multiple applications, and which can be branded for each specific company which deploys it.
"Most companies we spoke to were either already using two-factor authentication – mainly with hardware tokens – and they had come to understand the inconvenience of managing these. They were interested in the reduced cost of ownership and acquisition, along with the convenience factor both for the end-user and in deployment and
management overhead," says Dugmore.
FireID registered 223 solid leads, of which 15% were interested end-users, and many were vendors keen to partner.
"To demonstrate the extent of the interest, we had five FireID South African representatives along with our US channel manager, Tom Crowley, and none of us could take a break for more than 15 minutes during the whole show. There was a continuous stream of traffic to our stand," Dugmore says.
FireID has now established a US office, headed up by Crowley, who has begun recruiting staff and building channels for taking the product to market.
Developed in Java, FireID runs on almost any cellphone in the world. It is the brainchild of Stellenbosch developer Malan Joubert and entrepreneur Justin Stanford and has significant offshore venture capital funding.