KYIV – Ukrainian cybersecurity startup Hideez Technology is embarking on pilot projects with two top U.S. companies, one a major IT vendor and the other a leading cybersecurity firm.
The projects are fruit of a recent trip by Hideez executives to California, Nevada, and New York. In January, Hideez participate in the UA Expo Zone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Ukrainian Venture Capital Association, or UVCA, organized the expo of eight Ukrainian startups to promote Ukrainian IT to the world.
Hideez, based on Kyiv's Left Bank, makes a small keychain with which devices can be locked and unlocked based on proximity through a Bluetooth connection. The Hideez Key stores passwords for websites and apps and can open multiple magnetic door locks.
Stored passwords are safeguarded by an eye scan that identifies a user by blood vessels in the whites of the eyes.
The company is developing Hideez Key Two and plans to start production by May. Hideez Two can be worn as a keychain, wristband, pendant, or clip, and boasts enhanced security through the use of near field communication in addition to Bluetooth for pairing.
More than just a simple tool for people who cannot remember their passwords, Hideez CEO Oleg Naumenko sees the key as a means to increase cyber security for companies and governments.
In 2016, 63% of confirmed data breaches came from compromised passwords, according to Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report. The Hideez key addresses this by generating complex passwords linked not to one’s memory but to those blood vessels.
“You don’t have to know your passwords, and you shouldn’t know them actually,” said Naumenko.
He said one Silicon Valley investor praised the team for working to solve a real problem. But most customers do not yet understand the problem.
“Right now we are selling to the folks who really understand why they need it,” said Gennadiy Kornev, the chief marketing officer. “Making complicated things like multi-factor authentication or geofenced access easy to understand and actually used is the art we are mastering right now, while growing as a team and as a company.”
More than individual customers, Hideez is developing company clients. A company would give each employee a Hideez device to secure their entire network.
Hideez is working on pilot projects with companies in Ukraine, as well as the two new U.S. projects. These U.S. companies will initially test about 30 keys and, then, gradually increase. On completing the pilots, Hideez hopes for large contracts.
Naumenko and Kornev also see licensing their technology to other companies as a potential growth strategy. For example, their technology could secure hospitals and be incorporated into car locks.
Hideez expects to launch commercial sales in the US by March.
For comments and story tips, please email UBJ IT Correspondent Harvey Hinman at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo 1: Gennadiy Kornev (left), HIdeez Chief Marketing Officer, and Oleg Naumenko (right), Hideez CEO, at their office on Miru Prospect 4a, on Kyiv's Left Bank(Credit: Harvey Hinman)
Photo 2: Hideez wristband keys. (Credit: Hideez)
Photo 3: Hideez keychain fob. (Credit: Hideez)
Posted Feb. 2, 2017