Pindi raising capital to fund security technology project

A Reno startup that believes it's developed a breakthrough technology in security control is raising $2.2 million to get a product ready for demonstrations to potential marketing partners.

A major deal a licensing agreement with a major security company may depend on the outcome.

The patented system developed by Pindi Products relies on radiomolecular magnetics, a way of measuring the body's chemistry without requiring a needle stick or other invasion.

The company's founders initially thought the technology could be developed for glucose measurement in diabetics. But they put that plan on the backburner a year ago when its lead researcher, Erin Looney, found that the technology also worked to create "boneprints" scans that are distinctive to each individual.

The company says boneprints, which can be created in a few seconds when a user places his index finger on a reader, are more reliable and more hassle-free than other security systems such as retinal scanners.

Getting the technology from a garage workbench that's where Pindi was just six months ago into the marketplace is taking some time.

A year ago, the company said it was at work moving from a klunky workbench prototype of its system to a miniaturized unit for use in the real world. That project still is ongoing.

The company sometimes has moved slowly because its founders and managers want to keep as much financial control as possible, says Chairman Scott Armstrong.

The process of miniaturizing the technology also has been challenging, he says. The current plan is to have the prototype done by the end of the year.

The first $1.6 million invested in the company came largely from the personal funds of its founders as well as investments by family and friends.

Pindi employs five at its offices at the southern boundary of Reno's downtown, and Armstrong says another 20 researchers in California and elsewhere are working on Pindi-related projects in exchange for equity in the company.

Hirsch Electronics, a big player in the access-control business, has inked a letter of intent to acquire an exclusive license to market Pindi's technology in the security sector. Hirsch, a Southern California company, said a year ago that it would await tests of Pindi's prototype to decide whether to move further.

Potential security applications, Armstrong says, range from airports to retail locations that want to ensure the identity of credit-card customers.

While they've focused in the past year on the security business, Looney and Armstrong also have worked to develop medical markets for the technology.

Glucose monitoring systems that don't require diabetics to prick their fingers for a blood sample have strong potential, Armstrong says. But the little company also would like to be stronger on its feet before it takes on the rigors of winning approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The test of blood glucose levels also might have some applications in the weight-loss business, Armstrong says. Dieters could easily test their blood sugar several times during the day to see if they're gaining or losing weight on an hour-by-hour basis.

The number of potential applications for the technology, Armstrong says, have been a mild headache as its team needs to avoid the temptation to chase after multiple targets all at once.

"It's been hard choosing where we want to go," he says.

In the meantime, the little company hopes that a potential partner will pick up the costs of completing independent tests to ensure that the technology works.

"We're ready for independent verification," Armstrong says.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment