Technology created in a UMKC lab; UMKC Innovation Center brought company together
Kansas City, Mo. — EyeVerify, a Kansas City startup whose technology was developed by a University of Missouri-Kansas City professor, beat eight other finalists from across the globe to win up to $1 million euros in funding during Friday’s Get in the Ring worldwide investment competition.
EyeVerify CEO Toby Rush flew to the Netherlands for the worldwide competition, shortly after winning the national competition in Kansas City. The Kauffman Foundation hosted the event as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.
EyeVerify is a mobile app that works in nearly every smartphone on the market, and can identify a person by scanning the blood-vessel patterns in the whites of their eyes. The four international investors at the competition likely recognized what the EyeVerify team has long understood – that smartphone users all over the globe could potentially use their “eye prints” to unlock accounts and access files.
Reza Derakhshani, an associate professor in UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering, created the technology in a UMKC lab. Rohit Krishna, a UMKC associate professor of Opthalmology and Arun Ross, an associate profesor at Michigan State University are co-inventors of the technology. The then-unnamed technology was notable for the fact that it was nearly foolproof. After all, the vasculature in every person’s eyes is unique. Twins, and even clones, don’t share the same vasculature. And, unlike fingerprints, vasculature patterns are more private and secure.
With the help of UMKC’s Innovation Center, the technology was paired with a CEO, creating a chance to commercialize the technology. The patenting, marketing, and licensing of the technology went through UMKC’s Office of Technology Commercialization.
Maria Meyers, director of the UMKC Innovation Center, says that Monday night’s victory is a major step forward for the locally grown company.
“We used our Whiteboard to Boardroom program to bring this research out of the lab and into the real world because we recognized the potential of this technology. It is so gratifying to see that not just national, but global entrepreneurs see its value, too,” Meyers said.
The win is equally heartening for Derakhshani, who has seen this technology grow from a wild idea to a thriving company.
“Thanks to our CEO Toby Rush and the early help from the UMKC Innovation Center, EyeVerify has just landed game-changing funding and international attention. This will take EyeVerify to the next level,” Derakhshani said.