A tech start-up that wants to replace passwords with heartbeats just got some major backing.
Bionym, a Toronto-based company that develops authentication technology, announced Wednesday it has closed a $14 million Series A round of funding, led by venture capital firms Ignition Partners and Relay Ventures. Mastercard, Salesforce Ventures and Export Development Canada are also investors.
Bionym's wristband, which is called the Nymi, uses a wearer's heartbeat to unlock devices and online accounts. The $79 device is slated to debut this fall and already has more than 10,000 preorders.
Think of the Nymi bracelet as a combination key and ID. The device features sensors that capture a user's unique cardiac rhythm—electrocardiogram or ECG. The user, wearing the bracelet, can then seamlessly access devices and online accounts without having to enter a password or pin number. But the device can be used for more than just gaining access to devices.
Bionym CEO Karl Martin told CNBC in January that Nymi is a broad technology platform for a variety of applications. For example, a Nymi could be used to identify a user inside a retail shop to help create a more personalized shopping experience, he said.
Of course as security breaches mount, biometric authentication has been getting more attention.
Most recently, Apple said its Touch ID feature helps make its new Apple Pay system more secure. However, Touch ID is not required to access Apple's mobile payment solution.