EyeVerify is a Kansas City startup with a biometric identification solution that scans the blood vessels in the human eye, using the pattern of blood vessels which serves as a unique identifier. No two people, even twins, have the same “eyeprint.” Iris scanning isn’t new, but it requires the use of external technology. EyeVerify’s model capitalizes on the ubiquity of the smartphone – users can simply take a picture of their eye and within seconds, the software has made its identification. This interesting technology has a variety of uses, but it has particular application in the financial services and technology industries.
Polsinelli began working with EyeVerify in 2012, when it was a fledgling startup. The firm first assisted with making introductions in the technology and financing communities, helping the company make the necessary connections to strengthen its business. Polsinelli later assisted with formation, technology transfer licensing, and assisting with initial funding and financing rounds in the development phase.
Specifics of This Matter + Result
In the winter of 2015, Alibaba's subsidiary ANT Financial became interested in EyeVerify’s technology, at which point Polsinelli was called upon to represent the tech company in the acquisition. After a period of evaluation by ANT Financial’s products team, the deal gained momentum in the spring of 2016, and eventually closed in September for $100M+. It is Alibaba’s first investment in North America. At this time, the company will likely remain headquartered in Kansas City.
Polsinelli attorneys from the Science & Technology, Corporate & Transactional, Tax, and International practices assisted on this transaction.
Polsinelli is active in startup and technology communities in a variety of cities across the country, assisting with the unique challenges that come from entrepreneurship. The firm makes the conscious investment of time and energy into the startup community, providing connections, alternative fee arrangements, counseling and other services that startups need in the early days of their endeavors.
Shareholder Gregory Kratofil has worked with EyeVerify since 2012. He prides himself on asking not just ‘what do you need from a legal perspective’, but ‘what can we do to help grow your business?’ In the case of EyeVerify, as the company developed its technology, it became necessary to access a large number of test subjects. Greg invited EyeVerify’s team and their cameras to Polsinelli’s Kansas City office, loaded the conference room table with snacks and refreshments, and EyeVerify soon had a group of Polsinelli attorneys and staff who were willing to have their eyes photographed in the name of helping a client improve its product.
Polsinelli’s relationship with EyeVerify led to the firm being tapped to manage their high-dollar acquisition by ANT Financial. Said Kratofil, “What makes us different from a lot of firms is that we pair our efforts in the startup community with the ability to scale up our partnership as the startup develops. This goes all the way up into executing an extremely sophisticated M&A transaction, as in the case of EyeVerify. We have a large national platform and can draw upon the experience of attorneys across the country to take a startup from ideation all the way through the exit transaction.”
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