09 May Wisconsin investors will make their pitch to IPIC
Madison, Wis. – Several Wisconsin investment groups have stepped forward in an attempt to prevent a young company with a solution to identity theft from bolting the state, but outside investors are still in the picture.
The firm, IPIC (Internet Privacy & Identity Credential), will meet with four prospective Wisconsin investors on May 18 in Madison and one possible state investor on May 19 in Green Bay. Those meetings will precede talks with investors in North Carolina on May 23, and then Chicago and Arizona, and most outside financiers would require the company to move out of state as a condition of providing venture capital.
IPIC is looking to secure a $2 million commitment in the near future. “We’re hoping to stay in Wisconsin,” said Khaja M. Din, president of IPIC. “We’re trying our level best.”
Moneyed interests are impressed with IPIC’s core technology, which enables consumers to use an alias to prevent identity theft during online transactions. IPIC is a proprietary method of preventing identity theft that offers consumers a unique credential, or alias, that can be used in any standard e-commerce transaction. With this alias, they can make online purchases without revealing personal information on the Internet.
Din, who is on scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison law school, also plans to meet with representatives of a large venture capital firm in Chicago, plus the aforementioned venture investors in North Carolina, and angel investors in Arizona. The selection of either of these locations would require a move, but Chicago might not. “We’re close enough to Chicago, so it may not make a difference to them,” Din said.
The selected investor would join a list of Wisconsin companies that already have lent the company a hand. The law firm Foley & Lardner extended $30,000 in credit to IPIC so the company could file a patent on its technology. Metavante, the Milwaukee-based developer of banking and payment technology, has offered IPIC the use of its labs for the purpose of beta testing the product.
The market for IPIC’s core technology is virtually limitless. In its executive summary, the company notes more than 70 percent of Americans have personal computers in their homes, yet most are concerned about making purchases online. Their reluctance is primarily due to fears that their credit card number will be stolen, that they will be the victims of identity theft, and that their personal information will be used by spammers.
They have reason to worry. A recent World Privacy Forum survey identified more than 120 reported data breaches in American companies, resulting in $53 million in fines, since February of 2005.
Din and Brent Newport, the company’s director of operations, have been in discussions with two national financial institutions that are interested in partnering with IPIC and offering its identity theft prevention to online banking customers. Banks would be among the first partners secured by IPIC to provide online identity protection.
IPIC recently took home the top prize in the 2006 G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition, and it is one of 27 finalists in the Governor’s annual Business Plan Competition.