Biometrics£500,00 boost for hi-tech firm

Published 2 July 2008

Warwick Warp has developed innovative technology in biometrics which dramatically improves the accuracy and speed of recognition of fingerprints; VCs are intrigued

A fingerprint recognition system developed by a Coventry company has attracted £500,000 of investment from venture capitalists. Warwick Warp, based at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Venture Centre, has developed innovative technology in biometrics which dramatically improves the accuracy and speed of recognition of fingerprints. The hi-tech firm is now working to apply this to face recognition. The technology is seen to have huge business potential for uses in areas such as e-commerce, workforce and attendance tracking, access control, national ID card and e-border control, as well as forensic applications.

Warwick Warp, originally a spin-out from Warwick University, has secured £500,000 of investment from London-based Synergis Technologies and Mathematical Capital along with a sizeable chunk through Minerva’s Business Angel Network at the science park. Chairman Bill Joss, a member of the Minerva Network said: “The global biometrics market is growing fast and is expected to reach $6 billion by 2010. Fingerprint recognition accounts for almost 50 percent of spend on biometrics and Warwick Warp is well positioned to deliver significant enhancement to existing and new systems. As other technologies, such as face recognition, grow in importance, our algorithms and technology will be applicable to these also.”

Warwick Warp’s technology can identify fingerprints even from damaged or poor quality images by using advanced, patented algorithms. The technology focuses on improving accuracy, speed, and reliability, and can be applied as an upgrade to existing scanners and readers. Joss added: “Although current fingerprint recognition technologies can satisfactorily process good quality images, the problem with these systems lies with their inability to process poor quality or partial prints, which represent a high proportion of those presented. “This is just one area where we believe Warwick Warp has a unique advantage — the ability of our technology to extract meaningful data from poor quality images. This, coupled with substantial speed enhancement, means that we can help manufacturers and systems integrators to achieve better performance.” Russell Munslow, of the University of Warwick Science Park, said Minerva was there to help young or established companies such as Warwick Warp gain investment. He said: “We bring together potential investors and small and medium sized companies that need capital to unlock their growth. Some are long established and some are still emerging. Warwick Warp’s potential is clear for all to see and that is why the firm has secured such an exciting level of investment.”