Free program describes how UMKC-based matchmaker brought inventor and entrepreneur to the same table
The path from a promising new idea to a successful new business venture can be long and bumpy, with no guarantee of success. EyeVerify is one Kansas City startup that has navigated that road and stands on the brink of prosperity.
Now, three key figures in the company’s rise are coming together to tell their story in a free public forum. From Whiteboard to Boardroom: the EyeVerify Story tells how this revolutionary, game-changing UMKC research is finding a home in the marketplace. The program is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 2 in Room 451 of the Miller Nichols Learning Center, adjacent to the UMKC Miller Nichols Library, 800 E. 51st St., Kansas City, Mo.
Program participants include:
- Reza Derakhshani, an associate professor in UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering and primary inventor of the EyeVerify technology
- Toby Rush, entrepreneur, founder and CEO of EyeVerify
- Maria Meyers, director of UMKC’s Innovation Center
The Kansas City Star has called EyeVerify “arguably the hottest business startup in the Kansas City area.” The company beat eight other finalists from across the globe in November 2013 to win up to $1 million euros in funding during the Get in the Ring worldwide investment competition. Rush flew to the Netherlands for the worldwide competition, shortly after winning the national competition in Kansas City. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation hosted the event as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.
EyeVerify is a mobile app that can identify a person by scanning the blood-vessel patterns in the whites of their eyes. Derakhshani created the technology in a UMKC lab. Rohit Krishna, a UMKC associate professor of Ophthalmology; and Arun Ross, an associate professor at Michigan State University, are co-inventors of the technology.
UMKC’s Innovation Center played the key role in bringing Derakhshani and Rush together to forge a marketing agreement. Rush lined up the resources to carry the fledgling company through years of additional research and development to turn the nascent technology into a viable commercial product; the patenting, marketing, and licensing of the technology went through UMKC’s Office of Technology Commercialization.
Complementary parking is available on level 5 of the UMKC parking garage at 5000 Cherry St. The program is presented by UMKC Friends of the Library as part of their portFOLio programming series, designed to highlight UMKC Libraries by providing the Kansas City community with life-long learning opportunities linked to UMKC’s strategic priorities: Visual and Performing Arts; Economic Development and Research; Health and Life Sciences; and Urban Engagement. The program also will include presentation of the 2014 Friends of the Library annual gift and student scholarship.