FST Biometrics nabs $15M from young billionaire and former Israeli prime minister
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Gary Fegel, one of the primary investors in FST Biometrics. Photo Credit: PR

The Israeli startup, founded by the former head of military intelligence, identifies people as they walk along by recognizing their facial features and body movements

FST Biometrics, a company that specializes in identifying people based on their face and motions, announced that it has received a $15 million strategic investment from billionaire Gary Fegel’s GMF Capital.

The company also announced that former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak would join the board of FST Biometrics on Fegel’s behalf. Barak is also one of the investors in this round of funding.

The company says it uses a combination of facial recognition with body motion analysis to identify people trying to gain access to a workplace, residential building, warehouse or government facility. Once a user is registered, the system recognizes them without their needing to stop, slow down, punch in a code or otherwise identify themselves.

The biometric identification system also prevents “tailgating,” one of the weaknesses of automatic access systems, when a nearby person enters behind the person who has been buzzed in.

FST says it has clients in the wholesale, financial, telecommunications, residential and government sectors and that the company plans to develop additional uses beyond access control.

With people like former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on its board, as well as the company’s founder and chief executive Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, it is possible to imagine other pain points this technology could solve. For instance, access to malls, buses and other public places could be controlled by biometric identification technology.

Privacy concerns

This would require a database of all the people in a country, which raises privacy concerns. However, society seems to moving in this direction regardless. In fact, an app was recently developed for Google Glass that would allow you to look at a person and their name would appear.

“Based on my deep knowledge of Israel’s security ecosystem and the secure access solutions market, I am convinced that FST Biometrics has developed the market leading Secure Identification solution for today’s market and that of the foreseeable future,” said former Prime Minister Barak in a statement. Barak served as Israel’s prime minister from 1999 to 2001. He later served as defense minister before retiring from politics in 2013.

“The last six months have proven that the market is not only ready for but is actively seeking out our solutions,” said Major General (Res.) Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FST Biometrics and former director of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Directorate of Military Intelligence.

“GMF Capital’s investment is an important validation of our technology and vision while the expertise of Prime Minister Barak and Gary Fegel will be critical in supporting FST’s growth and market acceptance over the next few years.”

Gary Fegel expressed his support for the company in a statement, saying, “GMF Capital is constantly assessing a broad range of global investment opportunities but only invests in a limited number of businesses of the highest quality. I strongly believe that FST Biometrics stands out as a best-in-class technology solution with a strong, motivated management team poised to disrupt the existing market and deliver attractive growth.” He added, “I am pleased and enthusiastic to support FST Biometrics as they continue building the global benchmark in the new paradigm of In Motion Identification.”

Fegel, who is Swiss, featured as #22 on Forbes’ list of the world’s youngest billionaires in 2013.

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Simona Weinglass

About Simona Weinglass

I’m an old-school journalist who recently decided to pivot into high-tech. I work in high-tech marketing as well as print and broadcast media covering politics, business culture and everything in between.

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