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Israeli startup D-ID raises USD 13.5 million to protect against unauthorized facial recognition

The founders are veterans of the Israel Defense Forces’ intelligence unit 8200.

The founders of D-ID. Courtesy of D-ID via NoCamels. The founders of D-ID. Courtesy of D-ID via NoCamels.

Israeli tech startup D-ID announced on Wednesday that it raised USD 13.5 million in Series A funding last month. The investment round was led by AXA Venture Partners, with participation from Pitango Venture Capital, Y Combinator, AI Alliance, Hyundai Motor Company, Omron Ventures, Maverick Ventures, Mindset Ventures, and Redds Capital.

Founded in 2017 by Gil Perry, Sella Blondheim, and Eliran Kuta—veterans of Israel’s elite IDF intelligence unit 8200—D-ID developed a system that guards against unauthorized automated facial recognition. The company works with enterprises that record or photograph individuals to remove key biometric data using proprietary software while preserving other key attributes.

The need for anonymization is spreading across industries, from the automotive sector to medical care to smart cities. The current pandemic has also fueled concerns about mass surveillance.

D-ID says its “photo protection and video anonymization solutions ensure the privacy of individuals caught on film or camera, and allows organizations to store the media without risking heavy fines.”

Read this: Israeli startup raises USD 5 million for facial recognition tech that can identify masked faces

“Visual data is being used by an increasing number of companies and services. This includes facial images that contain sensitive biometric data,” said Manish Agarwal, general partner at AXA Venture Partners. “We have been impressed by the quality of the team at D-ID and they have created a product to safeguard that biometric data, which will go a long way in protecting these companies across the globe.”

Blondheim, who serves as D-ID’s COO, said, “Raising this level of investor interest during a period of economic uncertainty speaks to the need our solutions fill. The convergence of increased surveillance and individual privacy protection places enterprises in a position where they must either anonymize their stored footage or risk violating privacy laws and face costly penalties.”

Rami Kalish, general managing partner and co-founder at Pitango Venture Capital, said that protection against surveillance “is one of the most sought-after ideas of the 21st century.”

“We look forward to seeing D-ID fill a glaring gap in the marketplace. Their commitment to global privacy will aim to bolster industries, societies, and our communities,” he added.

This article first appeared in NoCamels, which covers innovations from Israel for a global audience.