BMW enterprise fund invests in Seattle-area startup combating counterfeits with authentication tech

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Alitheon’s tech uses images to create unique identifiers for physical objects. (Alitheon Photo)

Alitheon, a Seattle-area startup that uses images to create and manage unique identifiers for physical objects, raised $10 million. BMW’s venture capital arm, BMW i Ventures, co-led the Series A round with Imagine Ventures.

Founded in 2016, the company aims to help customers from industries such as automotive, aerospace, medical, collectibles, and luxury goods prevent counterfeits and misidentified parts. The idea is to replace stickers, barcodes, QR codes, and other tools that the company says are susceptible to fraud, damage, manipulation, and loss. 

Its “FeaturePrint” technology creates a unique identifier for products using images for any standard camera. The software codifies unique attributes of a surface area, and turns it into a “digital fingerprint.”

For example, a gold bar manufacturer and a computer board manufacturer can take images of their products and send them through Alitheon’s software. Then they can confirm the authenticity of those products as they are bought and sold in the market.

Roei Ganzarski. (LinkedIn Photo)

A company like BMW could use Alitheon to identify counterfeits and misidentified parts or components.

“Today the automotive sector is experiencing a rising rate of counterfeit parts which translates to a huge economic risk for the OEMs and a safety risk for their customers,” said Roei Ganzarski, president and CEO of Alitheon.

Alitheon also helps with traceability of materials, parts, products, and assemblies as they arrive at a factory, said Ganzarski, former CEO of electric propulsion company MagniX.

Ganzarski said during his time in the aerospace industry he realized there was “no good solution to connect the digital and physical worlds” in regard to authentication and tracking.

Asked about blockchain technology, Ganzarski said it can be beneficial for identifying and authenticating digital assets — but not physical ones.

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There are other machine vision-powered systems similar to Alitheon, but Ganzarski said his company differentiates because it can identify unique, individual items.

“Alitheon is the only patent-protected solution today that combines identification, authentication, as well as track and trace into one offering that does not require any markings or additives,” he said. “It’s what brands are asking for to bring trust and safety back to supply chains.”

Ganzarski said the 14-person company is generating revenue but declined to share specific metrics. Total funding to date is $35 million.

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