FireID, the promising Cape Town-based mobile security start-up, has found a white knight. Alan Knott-Craig’s investment company World of Avatar has come to the firm’s rescue.
World of Avatar’s investment comes just a month after billionaire Johann Rupert’s Reinet pulled the plug on its funding of FireID, forcing the young company to retrench its 40 staff members and shut its doors.
Knott-Craig says FireID is a good business, with a solid management team and an excellent product, which is why World of Avatar has decided to provide it with the funding its needs to keep going. It’s not clear yet how many jobs will be saved.
Although Knott-Craig will not reveal the details of the arrangement, saying they are confidential, the investment will allow FireID to get back on its feet.
FireID is a specialist in information security and is regarded as one of the country’s most promising start-ups. It builds secure, “two-factor authentication” technology for mobile phones. It has won a number of awards for innovation.
Frost & Sullivan analyst Protea Hirschel said previously there was good reason for investors to come to FireID’s aid because its product is “definitely sellable”.
“The mobile authentication market is by no means saturated and with the rise of cyber security threats to Internet services like social networking there is definitely a need for it,” she said.
Jenny Dugmore will stay on as CEO, with Malan Joubert remaining chief technology officer. “As far as we are concerned the management team will remain unchanged,” Knott-Craig says.
Justin Stanford, who co-founded company, will no longer be involved. Stanford’s investment business, 4Di Capital, a subsidiary of Reinet, was instrumental in the initial capital injections FireID received. However, he was unable to convince Reinet’s investment committee to continue investing. — Candice Jones, TechCentral