Pindrop raises $90 million, adds new CFO and CRO

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The voice biometrics firm Pindrop closed on its Series D fund raising round with $90 million in new capital to fuel expansion in voice authentication and security services for call centers and internet of things devices. It also added a new CFO and CRO.

Vitruvian Partners was the lead investor for the Series D round with 10 additional investors including Goldman Sachs, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Citi Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. In addition to raising capital, Pindrop also announced two additions to its management team: Jeff Hodges has taken the role of chief financial officer and Burney Barker joined as the new chief revenue officer.

“Our broad range of investors collectively view Pindrop as the established industry leader for securing the future of voice as it moves beyond the voice channel and towards voice-enabled devices,” said Vijay Balasubramaniyan, co-founder, CEO and CTO of Pindrop, in the press release.

According to Crunchbase, a website that tracks investments in fintech startups, Pindrop has raised more than $212 million in five different funding rounds since 2012. Andreessen Horowitz, the famed Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has been in the last four funding rounds. Andreessen Horowitz has made notable investments in successful companies such as Affirm, AirBnB, Facebook, Instagram, Lyft and Pinterest. Citi Ventures has also participated in the last four funding rounds. Both firms did not participate in the initial Seed funding round in 2012.

Pindrop began its business with an initial focus on helping to defeat telephone fraud originated in call centers that would lead to account takeovers and has now moved into internet of things devices. In 2013, Pindrop identified that financial institution call centers are one of the biggest targets for phone fraudsters.

Aite Group forecasts that account takeover losses in call centers will nearly double to $775 million in 2020, from $393 million in 2015. Pindrop Labs reported that one in 937 calls to a call center is fraudulent.

Today Pindrop counts eight of the 10 largest banks as customers. It claims that due to the use of its voice biometric technology, which improves voice authentication, it has stopped over $350 million in voice-based fraud and attacks in 2018.

As financial institutions are increasingly recognizing consumer adoption of virtual assistants in homes, cars and their mobile devices, it is creating an opportunity for them to become closer to their customers. However, caution over voice authentication is a key concern. When U.S. Bank launched support for Alexa, Siri and Google Home earlier this year it did so as the beginning stages of support, but would not enable payments. Also this year, Synchrony said its first Alexa skill, or third party app, would be bill payment and not shopping.

“Voice based systems, both phone and IoT based, have traditionally been vulnerable to a range of security threats and fraud because of a lack of robust identity and security technology. At Pindrop, we are bringing trust and security into voice based interactions to enable the evolution of voice as the next computer interface,” Paul Judge, executive chairman and co-founder of Pindrop, said in the press release.

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