Israeli face recognition disruptor D-ID raises $4m
22 January 2018 15:12 GMT

An Israeli firm that develops tech that disrupts face recognition has raised $4m in a funding round

D-ID announced today the completion of a $4 million seed round led by Pitango Venture Capital with participation from Y Combinator, Foundation Capital, Fenox Venture Capital, Maverick Ventures, and two notable angel investors.

The Tel Aviv-based Y Combinator S17 alumni startup has developed an innovative, deep learning solution to protect identities from face recognition technologies. The funds will be used to strengthen D-ID's position as the first and only company that protects from facial recognition technologies and AI.

D-ID was founded in 2017 by CEO Gil Perry, COO Sella Blondheim and CTO Eliran Kuta. Perry and Blondheim both served in the Israeli Special Forces, and Kuta served for ten years as a captain in 8200.

Perry said, "Our roles in the military service, made us become aware and sensitive to sharing photos over the web, as well as to the risks that facial recognition technologies pose to privacy. We started working on a solution before people even knew a problem exists. And today everybody's privacy is gone. Our biometric data is being collected and used irresponsibly by governments and organizations. D-ID is here to change that."

In the AI era, Face Recognition algorithms have become more accurate than humans, making organizations increasingly use our faces as identifiers: when crossing border controls, making payments, accessing smartphone, and even ranking citizens' behavior or tracking dissidents at protests. The implications for privacy are scary and privacy advocates are worried, with reason. Our photos are stored everywhere and anyone with access to this data can track us wherever we go, steal our identity, and hack our devices. That's why our photos must be protected, because unlike passwords, we cannot change our faces.

D-ID, which stands for de-identification, has developed an innovative solution that produces images, which are unrecognizable to facial recognition algorithms while keeping them indistinguishable to the human eye and is designed to be difficult for AI to overcome. D-ID's solution is presented to the market in perfect timing for the new European Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), which is coming into force in May 2018 and addresses face images as sensitive personal biometric data.