PixelPin, a UK start-up and Fintech Power 50 Member that uses image-based authentication to replace passwords with pictures, has announced it has closed a £1.5M Pre-Series A funding round.

The round was led by SBI Investment, a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, which is the biggest internet financial group in Japan known as the formerly SoftBank Investment. SBI Investment invested £1M from the SBI AI & Blockchain Fund. An additional investment of £500k from existing Angel investors completed the round, bringing it to £1.5M in total.

540e0aea-bcf0-4ca8-8fbe-515fe58c10f5-1FIDO-certified PixelPin will use the new funds to target new customers in the finance and retail sectors and support continued product development. In addition, the funding is being used to establish new offices in Tokyo to act as a base for the company’s expansion into Japan and the wider Asian market. The company already has offices in London and Cheltenham. 

PixelPin’s cloud-based platform, hosted on Microsoft Azure, replaces passwords and PINs for a highly secure, personal and user-friendly means of logging into their online accounts for banking, shopping and more. Instead of remembering a password or PIN users can select a picture and four specific points on that picture that must be selected in sequence to login to their online accounts. PixelPin’s platform also boasts a stellar success rate: it takes on average just 10 seconds for a user to login and one minute to register and has a login success rate (92 percent) three times higher than for passwords (30 percent). 

“This latest round of investment is a fantastic step forward for PixelPin and illustrates the level of confidence the global investor community has PixelPin and the UK fintech industry,” commented Geoff Anderson, CEO and co-founder of PixelPin. “We’ve been extremely diligent in our search for the right investor partners and are delighted that SBI Group has chosen to work with us as we look to expand our reach into Japan and the wider Asian market where we’re sure the group’s knowledge and experience will be a huge asset.” 

The SBI AI & Blockchain Fund was established in January 2018 to identify and support promising fintech ventures across the globe, with a targeted commitment of JPY 60 billion and successfully closed in December 2018 with more than 120 LPs. In addition to the financial commitment, the fund is intended to foster cooperation between the Japanese investment group and innovative companies from regions of fintech excellence, such as London.

“For everyone who has been locked out of their online banking for guessing their logins one too many times it’s clear that the passwords and PINs we’re forced to use aren’t fit for purpose,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, Representative Director, President & CEO of SBI Holdings “PixelPin’s solution creates a highly personalised and easy-to-use login experience that will be particularly popular with a tech-first younger generation but does this without compromising security – in fact, making it much more secure than passwords. In addition we see real potential for businesses to create value added services on this platform, turning security into a revenue generator.” 

This funding round brings PixelPin’s total funding to date to $4.5M which has facilitated expansion internationally, with partnerships across Asia, Europe and the Americas. This latest funding deal was brokered by PixelPin’s legal partners, Osborne Clarke.