Capital One acquires digital identity and fraud alert startup Confyrm – TechCrunch

Fundings and Exits


Capital One has acquired the San Francisco-based digital identity and fraud alert startup Confyrm, the company announced through a blog post on Thursday. The deal will bring Confyrm’s technology to the bank in order to help speed its development and implementation of consumer identity services at scale.

CEO Andrew Nash founded Confyrm in 2013, along with Dale Olds and Emma Lindley, with a vision of restoring trust in digital identities, he says.

“We recognized that despite an increasing reliance on digital identities, consumer trust in those identities continued to erode,” explains Nash. “We wanted to make a real difference to reducing online fraud and to make the internet a safer place for everyone engaged in it, but critically to do this without abusing customer privacy and storing personal data.”

The company created a system to offer early notifications of suspicious account activity, in order to mitigate the impact of fraud or account theft for identity providers and consumers alike. The system also uses privacy-enhancing mechanisms to protect the identities of the individual consumers and the event publishers.

For example, if a financial service was processing a password reset request but detected that the consumer’s email account had been taken over by a fraudster, it could stop the attack on the consumer’s account immediately. Meanwhile, the consumer could be alerted at the same time to take additional steps to secure their account.

Before starting Confyrm, Nash had previously served as Director of Identity Services at Google, one of the largest providers of consumer identity services in the world, with over a billion consumer and enterprise accounts. He also served as Senior Director of Consumer Identity at PayPal, managing over 350 million identities validated for use in the financial services space, and was Director of Technologies at RSA Security.

So for Capital One, the acquisition of Confyrm isn’t just about the technology itself – it’s about bringing Nash on board.

Following the deal’s close, Nash will become Managing Vice President of Consumer Identity Services.

He says working at Capital One will help the team reach more consumers than a startup could on its own, allowing them to “massively increase the set of consumers that we can help to protect.”

It’s unclear how far along Confyrm was on actually bringing its product to consumers – its website touted a few pilot programs several years ago, but hadn’t been updated in some time. Some of the site’s text is still “Lorem Ipsum” filler text, in fact, and there’s been little coverage by press in the years since its founding. The company hadn’t talked much about its pilot partners, but the list was reported to include an internet email provider, mobile operator, financial services company, and multiple e-commerce sites. Likely, Capital One was the early partner, which is what later led to this acquisition.

On the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) website, one of Confyrm’s pilot programs was listed, noting pilot partners included InCommon, Google, AOL, LinkedIn, and Microsoft. (AOL merged with Yahoo to form Oath, which also now owns TechCrunch.)

Deal terms regarding the Capital One acquisition were not being shared, but Confyrm had raised $1.2 million, according to Crunchbase, which attributes the funding to a grant. (Another source states the grant was for $2.4 million, however).

Acquiring an early stage startup isn’t rare for Capital One, which regularly picks up young companies to fuel its company with fresh talent and unique IP. Over the past several years, it’s acquired mobile savings startup BankOns, local business directory Bundle, budgeting app Level Money, design and development firm Monsoon, design firm Adaptive Path, price tracker Paribus (which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt), and secure container orchestration platform Critical Stack. 

There’s a video of Nash explaining how Confyrm works, here.



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