Softbank's spinoff AI fund injects £1m into London identity startup Pixelpin

Emily Nicolle
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Softbank is an investor in tech starlets such as Uber, Wework and UK bank Oaknorth (Source: Getty)

Japanese investor SBI has led a pre-series A funding round into London startup Pixelpin through its artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain fund.

SBI has plugged £1m into the Shoreditch-based startup while angel investors rounded out the investment with an additional £500,000. The financial services firm span off from mega investor Softbank in 2006.

Read more: Softbank unveils $500m early-stage startups fund

Pixelpin, which uses image-based authentication to replace passwords and PINs with pictures, said it would use the funding to expand its business in the finance and retail sectors. It will also open a new office in Tokyo, in addition to its existing offices in London’s Tech Hub startup space and Cheltenham.

“This latest round of investment is a fantastic step forward for Pixelpin and illustrates the level of confidence the global investor community has Pixelpin and the UK fintech industry,” said Geoff Anderson, chief executive and co-founder of Pixelpin.

The SBI AI and blockchain fund was set up in January last year with an initial targeted commitment of ¥60bn (£414m).

Read more: AI startup Onfido hits $100m funding milestone

It recently invested an undisclosed amount in City AI startup Onfido, which later formed part of a $50m (£38m) funding round.

Anderson added: “We’ve been extremely diligent in our search for the right investor partners and are delighted that SBI Group has chosen to work with us as we look to expand our reach into Japan and the wider Asian market where we’re sure the group’s knowledge and experience will be a huge asset.”

The funding takes Pixelpin’s total funding to date up to $4.5m.