Footprint wants to change how companies collect, store and share personal data

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Anyone who has ever applied for an apartment or a mortgage knows that these companies tend to collect much more information than they need to determine if you can afford the monthly payment. The application process often includes pages of data about you and your life, but what if companies could only get the data they need in a secure way?

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It’s the premise behind Track, an early-stage startup that wants to change the way companies collect information by helping consumers take control of their own data. It’s a big, ambitious idea, and today the startup announced a $6 million seed investment.

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“For end consumers, the Footprint is the last identification form they will ever complete. For businesses, Footprint is just five lines of code. And it gives our customers the ability to both register users and create an account or Know Your Customer (KYC) and reduce the costs and security risks that must be associated with storing this data.” CEO Eli Wax told TechCrunch.

The company’s goal is to create a tool not unlike Apple Wallet, but for your data, to store your personal information in an encrypted format using a mobile device to provide identification. “Footprint securely stores verifiable user credentials (such as social security number, date of birth, email, phone number) in a secure ‘secure enclave’ backed by cryptographic attestation at the hardware level,” explained the founders.

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The company then uses Face ID or Touch ID on your phone to verify your identity in order to access and share that information with trusted partners.

Footprint product shot showing the user using FaceID to access the app.

Image credits: Track

The company’s co-founder and CTO Alex Greenman, who previously co-founded startup KryptCo. Acquired by Akamai in 2019, says at the end, the company uses the concept of secure enclaves, originally developed by AWS. He used the example of proof that someone is over 21 to get into a bar.

“Well, you don’t have to decipher their date of birth and then do those calculations and application code. You can do this inside a secure enclave, so we only release the minimum amount of information you need,” he said. This approach also has additional benefits.

“And since this is the only safe way to decrypt any data, we also have very detailed audit logs. Thus, we know exactly who is decrypting what data. If they are allowed, we can transfer some of the data to them. If they are not allowed to, we can block them,” he said. And everything is written to the append-only audit log.

Today, a company can collect and store a name, email address, phone number, date of birth, address, social security number, with the ability to add things like proof of source of income, which includes your employer and income, and proof of the business you own. Wax explained. The goal is to eventually be able to handle all the data you’ll need to apply for something like an apartment and eliminate all the friction of the current paper systems that most companies still use, allowing users to share their data. . Track data with any trusted partners.

Shardul Shah, an investor partner at Index Ventures, sees a company with smart founders trying to solve a tough problem in an industry that has plenty of room for growth.

“I think the identity market is huge and there is a lot of commercial activity around the industry because there is a lot of valuable exchange, but it is fundamentally not working. Most people have a point of view that there is a compromise to make. Either you have low friction or you have high accuracy. And I think it’s a bold and difficult point of view that Alex and Eli share, which is that you can get across both of them. By the way, you can be low friction and easy to use, as well as incredibly accurate,” said Shah.

The company currently has 7 employees, but as it grows, Vaks says diversity is an important value for a startup. “We believe diversity is incredibly important. Alex and I are very proud of a team that is not like us. We are the only two people who look like us on the team. And we know of a lot of companies that make a big effort to hire diversity when they’re in the later stages, and for us, if that’s not a priority right from the start, it’s not exactly a priority,” Wax said.

The product is currently in early access, but the company plans to make it available to the general public in the fall.

Today’s $6 million investment was made by Index Ventures, with participation from industry angels, as well as BoxGroup, Operator Partners, Lerer Hippeau, Palm Tree Crew, Not Boring Capital, and K5.

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